Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Newsflash: Actors aren’t the characters they play? Such a wild concept…

SOME Star Wars “fans,” referred to as the Fandom Menace, have been known to completely trash the women taking on roles in the franchise, but they’ve taken it too far with Kelly Marie Tran, the first women of color to take on a major role. The actress, who played Rose in The Last Jedi, deleted all of her Insta posts to escape the savage comments, including 8th-grade level insults attacking her looks and her ethnicity. It’s 2018, kids… Grow up.

Tran has been dealing with an exorbitant amount of criticism since the film’s release, but most of it hasn’t actually been about her portrayal of Rose or the character herself. Nope—they’d rather attack her as a person. It’s pretty sad when the director of a movie has to step in to defend an actress against unnecessary abuse. Rian Johnson called the abusers manbabies on Twitter—slay, Rian, slay.

It’s one thing to dislike a character—I thought the Rose x Finn arc was kind of forced in The Last Jedi and Rose wasn’t my favorite character, either. Did I attack a lovely person on social media because I didn’t jive with a fictional character she played? Nope. #Adultlife. The hate she is receiving is especially sad given how excited she was to join the series and to share her character with the fans. She gushed in one of her now-deleted Instagram posts prior to the movie’s release, “I know how lucky I am to be a part of something that people love, to be able to act and tell stories at all.” She actually cried of gratitude in an interview on the subject—she deserves so much better. The trolls went as far as changing her character’s Wookiepedia post to include a racist jab at her Vietnamese-American ethnicity.

She wasn’t even exempt from mockery from other people in the limelight. Alt-Right Youtuber Paul Ramsey decided to go the sexist and racist route when he compared Battlestar Galactica actress Grace Park to Tran, and made a weight “joke.” Obviously, women of color are only here to serve the sex fantasies of men. It’s not like they’re, you know, actual people.

But with the bad comes the good. Numerous people have gone to bat for Tran, including other actors, fans, and Asian-Americans who have been impacted by her work. Shoutout to these MVPs.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back: Representation is important. It’s at least heartening to know that these bottom-dwellers will get called out by actual fans, but the fact that actors like Tran have to deal with this at all is beyond disturbing. Hey trolls, find a hobby that doesn’t include tearing down people who are way more successful than you. OK?

h/t BBC