Nero really got a bad press, the Christians were only too happy to be taken by Nero's henchmen, to be used in the arena and also as street-lighting whereby they were doused in oil and set alight, he couldn't believe how dumb they were.
They weren't "happy" to be tortured and killed, nor were they "dumb". The Romans insisted everyone worship the emperor as a 'living god' as well as worshipping the roman gods. The Christians and Jews who were tortured and executed were following the first two commandments-- 'Thou shalt have no other God before me' and "thou shalt not make graven images of thy Lord God.' Literally, they died because they refused to violate the rules of their faith, they wouldn't worship whatever religion was convenient to make others happy and they damned sure weren't praying to statues of the emperor. Plus, they had such small numbers in Rome the first 150 years or so that they were a good scapegoat for anything at all. Forensic psychologists have looked thru behaviors of Nero and other Roman emperors... he didn't get "bad press", he was psychotic. He and his mother tried murdering each other a couple of times, Nero finally won.