Days after Kelly Marie Tran deleted all her Instagram posts in response to never-ending online harassment, her fans and supporters have come to her side to denounce the bullying by insecure fanboys who don’t like movies starring women and actors of color.
What is it with this small group of fanboys that they feel they have to attack an actress playing a fictional character by asserting their toxic masculinity and/or racism, on any attempt to reflect the diversity of our country?
Tran was the latest victim of the small, but virtually vocal group of internet bullies. Tran had been the target of ongoing harassment and abuse ever since she became the first woman of color in a major role in the Star Wars franchise.
Her Instagram account with 212,000 followers, is now empty except with this phrase: “Afraid, but doing it anyway.” Tran, a 29-year-old Vietnamese American born in California, has no Twitter or Facebook accounts.
In December, AsAmNews ran a story headlined Resistance Defeats Racists in a galaxy Not Far Away that reported hateful messages berating Tran’s appearance had inundated social media and that someone even hacked into her Wookiepedia fan page to edit her biography and change her name to Ching Chong Wing Tong and her hometown to Ching Chong China.
Alt-right internet personality Paul Ray Ramsey in December tweeted harassing comments about Tran’s appearance, with his post being retweeted 103 times and earning 442 likes.
Rian Johnson, who directed Tran in The Last Jedi, took to Twitter on Tuesday to call out the trolls who have hounded Tran.
On social media a few unhealthy people can cast a big shadow on the wall, but over the past 4 years I’ve met lots of real fellow SW fans. We like & dislike stuff but we do it with humor, love & respect. We’re the VAST majority, we’re having fun & doing just fine. https://t.co/yhcShg5vdJ
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 5, 2018
Mark Hamill himself came to the defense of Tran.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 6, 2018
Many in the entertainment community are also showing support for the actress.
I totally embarrassingly fanned out when I met Kelly Marie Tran. Rose Tico was unequivocally one of the highlights of The Last Jedi. You’d have to be an idiot to disagree with that.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 5, 2018
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) June 6, 2018
It’s not the first time these trollers have made their displeasure known. They attacked John Boyega, a Black man, for his leading presence on The Force Awakens and derisively called Daisy Ridley a Mary Sue because she was the central character in the same movie.
They believe the “social justice warriors” have soften the franchise in the efforts to diversify the cast. I mean, they can accept Huts, Wookies, Ortolons or any of the other 50 alien races inhabiting the Star Wars galaxy, but they can’t stand it if a man of color or a woman has a prominent role in one of the Star War stories?
I would not be surprised if a lot of Tran’s harassers are of the same ilk who like to carry around tiki torches, make Nazi salutes to teach other or parade around in White robes and a pointed hood.
Although they claim to be Star Wars fans, they evidently haven’t learned the lessons . espoused in the movies – that tolerance matters, respect matters, decency matters. Or, quoting Rose Tico, the character played by Tran: “That’s how we win. Not fighting what we hate, (but by) saving what we love.” (The trollers hated that line. Too soft.)
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