One of the most rage inducing/heartbreaking things I’ve read this past week is that Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, removed her posts from Instagram. The action was most likely due to harassment Tran has been the recipient of for the last few months. Since shortly after the film’s debut, she has faced racist and sexist abuse online.
A certain segment of Star Wars devotees proved to be too attached to the series after the prequels failed to live up to expectations. I’ll have to admit to feeling let down by Star Wars 1-3 and I think there is legitimate reason to be concerned about where the series is headed. However, most of us long-time fans know where to draw the line between disappointment and outrage.
Now a set of fans has taken advantage of the social media tools that let them spew venom at the objects of their derision. These fans feel like they are entitled to a Star Wars that affirms their views of the world. Anything other than that registers like a betrayal to them. For these people, movies that were meant to be entertainment instead become sacred. Fairy tales in space become outsized in their importance and take on a idealized purity that is easily stained in the messy work of continuing the narrative. It’s truly a shame to see Tran and others taking part in what should be a wonderful experience of sharing a story with the world become the victims of online abuse.