Hayden Christensen, doing press for his new Romeo and Juliet style comedy Little Italy (co-starring Emma Roberts) appeared both caught off-guard by and sympathetic to a question about actress Kelly Marie Tran’s struggles with Star Wars fans.
When asked to comment on Tran’s confessional post in The New York Times (which describes the racist and sexist harassment she received online in response to her role as Rose Tico in the Star Wars saga and how it negatively impacted her life and her sense of self), Christensen (who also suffered some serious criticism at the hands of Star Wars fans for his role as Anakin Skywalker in the prequels), at first replied, “Oh, I don’t know if I have any advice for that,” before offering the Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress what little he could say on the situation.
Don’t take it too seriously because unfortunately, those are the ones that make the most noise. But the majority of the people don’t feel that way, so keep that in mind.
Tran’s character Rose Tico was the first woman of color to have a leading role in any of the Star Wars’ movies. But instead of relishing her historical role, Tran was forced to endure an onslaught of racist and misogynistic comments, including a repugnantly hateful description of her character on a page of the Star Wars fan site Wookieepedia. The post has since been removed and denounced, and the user who posted it has been banned.
As loads of non-trolling fans on Twitter pointed out, Tran and Christiansen aren’t the only Star Wars actors to face severe backlash and abuse from fans. In July, Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks in the prequels, revealed on Twitter that he had come close to killing himself over intense fan criticism.
Star Wars has a small minority’s of some of the worst fans going. Drove Jake Lloyd over the edge, drove Kellie Marie Tran off social media, drove Hayden Christiansen out of acting and now the constant hounding of Rian Johnson. It’s embarrassing for the rest of us.
— Emma of Arendelle (@Minnie_The_Fox) August 17, 2018
Jake Lloyd had a mental breakdown, Ahmed Best contemplated suicide, Hayden Christiansen quit acting, George Lucas sold his companies, Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran withdrew from social media, and Disney officially canceled all future Star Wars projects because of toxic fans.
— Justin [✜–ⒷⒶ] Clough (@InfendoJustin) July 5, 2018
I hated The Last Jedi, but the loser fans need to lay off Kelly Tran. She’s no more responsible than Jake Scott or Hayden Christiansen. It wasn’t her fault but the writer/director’s. If he owned the mistake that could take pressure off her.
— Brian Hall (@NonMitchell) June 6, 2018
Discuss it in general. Star Wars fans can be passionate and are allowed to be. Death threats, insults or belittling however is just straight toxic whether it be Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christiansen, Kelly Marie Tran or Ahmed Best.
— David 坂本 (@Sakamoto133) June 5, 2018
In the NYT piece, Tran powerfully states:
I am not the first person to have grown up this way. This is what it is to grow up as a person of color in a white-dominated world. This is what it is to be a woman in a society that has taught its daughters that we are worthy of love only if we are deemed attractive by its sons. This is the world I grew up in, but not the world I want to leave behind.
Before vowing to continue to work for the kind of world she wants to live in:
I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white. I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence. I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings.
This is the world I want to live in. And this is the world that I will continue to work toward.
It’s something we should all aspire to.