Day: July 5, 2018

The Fandom Menace: The Dark Side of the Star Wars Fanbase

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the recent news on Ahmed Best, the actor who played JarJar Binks on how he was considering to die by suicide due to harassment he faced after playing the character on the Phantom Menace.

To be honest, I liked the Phantom Menace and I don’t think it was THAT bad. I mean yeah did I feel (many years later) that Jar Jar Binks was an unnecessary character (that was annoying), yes, but…that did NOT warrant Best to be harassed. I mean really??? Some people need to find God in their life. And now thanks to social media, ugly heads really show up. Due to the backlash on the character, Best had a hard time finding work.

I always what happened to Best all these years. To think though he faced 20 years of harassment…20 years… This is ridiculous. However, he wasn’t the first (nor will he be the last) Star Wars actor to have faced harassment from so-called “Star Wars fans”.

Not too long Marie Kelly Tran faced harassment, due to her character Rose Tico on “The Last Jedi”. In all fairness, she was a poorly written character in a poorly written story that just happened to be called “Star Wars”. But the harassment again was COMPLETELY unwarranted! What the hell man?!?!

See, as one of the few women in Star Wars (movie) universe, she is also the first person of color who was Asian-American to take part in the franchise. I have to say it’s great that now we have many people of color taking part, because there are many people of color (this chick included) who love the Star Wars universe but feel left out because there was very little to no representation of ourselves. It made it feel like POC either didn’t exist or they did, but in little numbers. I mean after the portrayal of Lando Calrissian played by Billy Dee Williams in “The Return of the Jedi” back in like what…1983 there wasn’t another Black character 16 years later in “The Phantom Menace” in 1999 when Samuel L Jackson played Mace Windu.

Image result for chirrut imwe

It’s sad though for each segment of the Star Wars movies there has always been 1 Black character. Really??? Like there’s only one black person who exists in real life. But at least recently we’ve had two Asian characters to debut in the famous series: Chirrut Imwe played by Donnie Yen and of course, Rose Tico played by Kelly Marie Tran. Ooh! Don’t forget Óscar Issac who played Poe Dameron, Diego Luna who played Cassian Andor, Riz Ahmed who played Bodhi Rook, and Forest Whittaker who played Saw Gerrera.

In the end, cowards are those who follow the dark side.

Yoda

Anyways (sorry for digressing), the haters (I will say they are on the dark side of the Star Wars Fandom) then went further to throw racist and sexist comments at her. Then after Ms. Tran deleted her Instagram, so-called fans from the dark side of a Star Wars fandom group on Facebook bragged how proud they were of getting Ms. Tran off her Instagram page. They felt the diversity of characters was forced and they should have more of the “straight white hero”. Losers. But hey…not too long ago there was Anakin Skywalker who was portrayed by Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen…but their careers were destroyed by the same fanbase. Looks like you can’t make ANYONE happy.

I love Star Wars…its characters, its alien people, its stories, its universe and of course…it’s charm, but I DON’T love the mistreatment of other human beings. Yes we are entitled to our opinions and dislikes, but don’t be an a**hole about it! It is very unreal to know there are people are real a**holes in the Star Wars Community. I mean…these movies should be bringing people together not sending people away from each other. However in spite of the dark side the fandom, there is the good side of the fandom too. It’s amazing to see the outpouring of support to Ms. Tran and even Mr.Best in light of their harassment. People from all of the world and all walks of life in defense of the actors. Not too long ago, I read Mr. Best’s Twitter page and he was very thankful of the fans who were very receptive of him, especially after online articles saying how the harassment near led him to nearly take his own life.

In the end, love is what will heal the broken-hearted and what will take on the bullies of this world.

Even though what Ms. Tran did was sad by turning off her Instagram page, it’s a smart move. It’s a form of self-care, because you shouldn’t have to keep a page on just because you want to prove to bullies you are not phased by them. Strength is also knowing when you have to leave an environment that you feel is no longer safe and may threaten your emotional well-being. While we wish it was easier to just “turn-off” bullies in real life, at least we can do it online. So how do we protect our emotional well-being from cyber bullies? The picture below will explain:

News articles:

JarJar Binks actor Ahmed Best says media backlash was so bad he considered suicide