Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has slammed the franchise’s fans for allegedly bullying Kelly Marie Tran on social media.
Kelly played Rose Tico in the eighth episodic film of the beloved science-fiction franchise – but her role has irked some male fans – who then inundated her social media pages with abusive messages.
Earlier this week (end10Jun18), the 29-year-old deleted all her Instagram posts, a decision she reportedly took to remove the abusive responses that appeared on her profile.
Defending the actress on Twitter, Rian slammed those who’d targeted Kelly, calling them “manbabies” and adding: “Done with this disingenuous bulls**t. You know the difference between not liking a movie and hatefully harassing a woman so bad she has to get off social media. And you know which of those two we’re talking about here.”
He claimed the abuse was down to a “few unhealthy people” who “cast a big shadow” and explained that their actions were harming real fans – who often criticized elements of the films but did so with “love” and “respect”.
Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill backed Rian’s comments, quoting his tweet and explaining that over 40 years his interactions with Star Wars fans had generally been positive.
In addition to Rian and Mark, a host of celebrities also came to Kelly’s defense, including Cher, Josh Gad, Elijah Wood and Kumail Nanjiani.
Cher was most strident in her criticism, tweeting: “Seriously, fix your f**king life if you do s**t like this. This isn’t fandom, its not loving a thing (sic). It’s harassment. It’s abusive behavior done by sexist, racist man babies.”
Despite the gripes of some fans, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a critical and box office success, earning rave reviews and more than $1.3 billion in cinemas around the world.