I don’t have anything to say that isn’t going to be said more eloquently (hopefully) over the coming days. But we should address the things that make us angry, and the things that make us feel sick to our stomachs. We should address the things that we feel like we shouldn’t have to keep addressing.
Actress Kelly Marie Tran– Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi— has deleted her Instagram account, and reports are circulating that she has done so due to harassment from Star Wars “fans.” Kelly Marie Tran is a Vietnamese-American woman who had the opportunity to be a part of something that should be bringing her absolutely nothing but joy and satisfaction. Can you imagine getting to be a part of something like Star Wars? I do all the time. When I’m really down, I lie awake at night, and I fantasize about being in a Star Wars movie. Because Star Wars is special to me. I cannot imagine how awful it must be to feel like you have to go into hiding because people are being so cruel to you over being in a Star Wars movie.
Star Wars is special to a lot of us, and I get that. But Star Wars doesn’t owe any of us a goddamn thing. Star Wars is not a right. Star Wars is a work of art, and art is subjective. I’m super sorry if you didn’t like The Last Jedi. I’m sorry if it disappointed you. It hurts to have art let you down. I cried at the end of The Hobbit because I was so disappointed. But I didn’t hide behind some gutless Twitter avatar and spew toxins at Peter Jackson.
To be clear: Jerks aren’t just doing this because they didn’t like The Last Jedi. They are doing this because they don’t want anyone other than white, cis, straight men to be a part of this. They are doing this to feel powerful. They are wrong. They are weak assholes whom the badass Rose Tico would taze without a second thought.
Don’t like The Last Jedi. Think that Canto Bight was the worst part of the movie. You’re not alone. Personally, I really like the Canto Bight plot, and I really like Rose. And those differences are (potentially and ideally) something really interesting that you and I can discuss calmly and thoughtfully. Art should inspire passion, not vitriol. Hell, if you really liked The Hobbit movies, let’s talk about those! I admit that I’ve been an asshole about them in the past, and I apologize. I can be chill now.
So, talk to me. Talk to your friends. Leave Kelly Marie Tran alone. Leave harassment out of nerd discourse.
Real Star Wars fans… I don’t want to speak for you, but I imagine that we all identify more with the Rebellion and the Resistance than we do with the Empire or the First Order. I think it goes without saying that Luke Skywalker would never spinelessly harass a woman just because he didn’t care for the movie she was in. Neither would Han or Leia or Rey or any of our heroes. What are you possibly getting out of these stories if you can find it in your heart to cheer on the Rebellion and then go out to bully someone?
Charles Pulliam-Moore’s excellent essay on io9 is right. Disney needs to step up and say something. Disney needs to have Tran’s back on this one. Disney and Lucasfilm need to make these assholes know that they aren’t welcome at our Jedi party. Everyone else, regardless of race or gender identity or anything, is indeed welcome. If you need to leave the party because you aren’t having fun anymore, that’s okay. But you don’t have to flip a table and hurt someone’s feelings or make them feel unsafe on your way out.
This is not a statement I make frequently, but it feels worth mentioning:
Guys. It’s just Star Wars.