Fandom can be a troublesome thing.
Sure, it’s fine to critisise a movie and characters, but the line has to be drawn at going after the talent that’s simply doing their job. While most Star Wars fans keep their passion to adequate levels, certain sectors of that Galaxy’s ultra-outspoken fanbase have been known to… let’s say, take things too far.
Jar Jar Binks. Just that name is enough to illicit groans from many a Star Wars fan, and fair enough: the character is considered to be a truly terrible creation by many. Then again, he’s also quite liked by others. So, pushing all the opinions of Jar Jar to one side, what of the actor who played him? Well, this is where things get pretty serious.
“20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today,” actor Ahmed Best wrote on Twitter, posting an image of himself and his son on a bridge looking out over the ocean.
“This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival.”
20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival. Would this be a good story for my solo show? Lemme know. pic.twitter.com/NvVnImoJ7N
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) July 3, 2018
While he doesn’t actually name the film he’s referring to, next year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Ahmed went on to play the Gungan outcast in much smaller parts in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
The actor received widespread support from fans following his tweet:
This is terrible. I’ve always hated JarJar, but I’ve literally never held any animosity toward @ahmedbest. He did a great job portraying a poorly written character.
Stories like this are making me really consider carefully any reactions I have toward movies. https://t.co/rq3P8xRtnj
— Dave Wise (@AardvarkSagus) July 4, 2018
Definitely! Star Wars “fans” will attack anyone they can for no reason. Sad to see it still 20 years on.
While the older entitled “fans” were on a tirade, this 8 yr old kid was playing with his favourite JarJar action figures & having the time of his life. Thanks for everything!
— Dave Lee (@davlee1991) July 4, 2018
Yo for what it’s worth jar jar was every kid and friend of mine favorite char when we were younger. It literally made the movie for us , we quoted him daily and I still remember that part of my life so clear. Thanks homie you a G
— Adam Elmakias (@elmakias) July 4, 2018
Until this moment, I had never considered that there was a human man behind the pixels whose life and career could be devastated by the mockery. I know it doesn’t undo the hurt, but I apologize for participating in the Jar Jar hate.
— Priscilla Spencer (@priscellie) July 4, 2018
I was never a fan of JarJar, but I think the portrayal of an irritating character was excellent. I think fans need to stop holding actors accountable for the way that characters are written. Glad you’re finally finding something positive out of it all.
— Dr Eve Smith (@evedrdiscworld) July 4, 2018
— mog21 (@mog21) July 4, 2018
And Frank Oz, the voice of Yoda, had the following to say:
I LOVED Jar Jar Binks. I know I’ll get raked over the coals for saying that but I just will never understand the harshness of people’s dislike of him. I do character work. He is a GREAT character! Okay. Go ahead. Shoot. Gimme all ya got—but you’ll never make me change my mind. https://t.co/RHhhXUlU5C
— Frank Oz (@TheFrankOzJam) July 4, 2018
The hate that’s poured out from the Star Wars fanbase – again, not from everyone, but enough – last month also pushed The Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran to leave Instagram.
What do you think? Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed when criticising a film and characters? Or does everything go and that’s what these actors sign up for? Comment below.