Star Wars fans, and all fans out there who weren’t aware, Star Wars actress Kellie Marie Tran made a decision to remove all posts from her Instagram account this week. On Tuesday, fans went to her account to find nothing but her name, photo and tagline that writes, “Afraid, but doing it anyway,”.
This is not the first time an actor has distanced his or herself from social media because of similar issues. Daisy Ridley deleted her accounts in 2016 because fans were commenting about her character’s looks and about her personal stance on certain political issues. That’s just in the Star Wars galaxy. Josh McDermitt (The Walking Dead), made the same decision last year. He deleted all social media accounts when thousands of fans became vocal, albeit nasty, about their dislike of his character Eugene.
It’s safe to say that if you are on social media, and are part of a franchise, news outlet, film, TV series, or you are your own entrepreneur, you’ve experienced unprovoked hate via social media. I am talking heartless, mean, bashing and extreme negativity being put out into the zeitgeist. We are talking about words that are meant to kill someone’s spirit.
When somebody like Kelly Marie Tran becomes an actor, the chances are extremely high that she is going to run on the opinions of YOU, the fan. She may be prepared for you simply disliking her character, but who can prepare to face constant scrutiny and meanness being thrown at them constantly?
From the fan perspective, social media gives us more personal access and extra content that we wouldn’t have otherwise, from the people who inspire us. Whether they are movie stars, Billboard Top 100 Pop Stars, YouTubers, style influencers, their instagrams and Twitters are actually really cool to have as an option. Sure, not everybody deletes their social media accounts over hate, but that still doesn’t make it okay.
We recently got a message from one of our readers, and what he said made us very proud. We wanted to share it with other fans, and we hope you take a second to read it.
The following is an open letter from our reader Anton B., to his fellow fans.
Bullying and harassing are plagues that can affect virtually anyone , destroying lives with no consideration for color, gender, age, religion, beliefs…
If, growing up, you were a nerd, or a geek, or even slightly original or unique, there was a big risk you would end up being bullied or harassed for an infinity of unfair and no justified reasons. Nowadays, with the explosion of the virtual world (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…), these plagues have found a new battlefield : the social media world, where people can harass and bullied victims they have not even met, hiding their cowardice in the shadows, behind computers screens, even from thousands of miles away, no longer bound by any spatial or geographical limits.
I recall reading numerous cases in the past few years where kids or teenagers took their own life, unable to cope with the pressure, unable to find the help or support they needed, ashamed to speak about it because of fear or loneliness, stress, anxiety or depression, failing to find a friendly hand to offer support. I suffered from that myself, and I regret not having the courage to stand up to the bullies at that time. But, I learnt, I grew and I do stand proud of who I am now.
It is disheartening to realize that no matter how successful , or famous of an artist you are, it does not protect from it, and you can still fall victim to it. I hate bullies, I hate them from the bottom of my heart because I know and understand how much damage they can do to a person, to his psyche, personality and happiness, and to his life in general.
The latest case I came across lately was the one involving Kelly Marie Tran, an actress recently in the spotlight for her role of Rose Tico in Star Wars – The Last Jedi. I might have been naive to think that the Star Wars Fans might have been more sensitive to the issue of bullying and harassment. After all, many of them, like myself, may have been victims themselves, and not capable of displaying such shame and disrespectful behavior, especially towards one of their own. But I was wrong. Kelly Marie Tran became the victim of bullying and harassment from Star Wars fans, to the point she ended up deleting her own Instagram account. And I know it was perpetrated by only a few cowards, but I would expect that the rest of the Star Wars community would stand up and stand by the side of one of their own, not only to defend her but to show her she is not on her own.
Bullies don’t deserve to win. Let’s support Kelly Marie Tran. We are better human beings than that.
May the Force be with us.
#KellyMarieTran #SupportKMT #StarWars #TheLastJedi #GeeksUnited
Anton B. is a scriptwriter, short movie director, documentary film maker and paranormal investigator. He recently took part in Edmonton International Film Festival and is working on his first paranormal book project. He is a big Star Wars fan, and some of this favorite films are Last Jedi, Rogue One, Alien, Prometheus, Inception, Memento. You can follow him at Pandemonium Paranormal on Twitter @PandemoniumGAC, instagram (PandemoniumParanormal) or on Facebook here.
Thank you Anton, for sharing your story with us!
Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo