Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, revealed on Twitter that he had previously considered ending his life over the harassment he received due to the role.
The actor then earned tremendous amounts of support from fans and filmmakers alike, with Best taking to Twitter to share his appreciation of all the kind words.
The actor shared, “Thank you all for your love and kindness. It’s been overwhelming. I’m gonna start writing this show. Gonna need help cause I’ve never done this before. I will be trying stuff out and posting it here. Let folks know. Thanks for all your support. It means so very much to me.”
In the years since the release of The Phantom Menace, Best has given countless interviews and made numerous public appearances, regularly taking pride in the work he put into bringing Binks to life. However, the character’s goofy demeanor in a series that many fans took quite seriously resulted in an immediate backlash against the character, as many fans thought the character did nothing but detract from the heavier themes of the saga.
Best endured the harassment for years, having only recently shared how heavy a toll the insults took on his emotional state.
The actor shared a photo of himself overlooking a body of water, captioning it, “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.”
The actor is seemingly in much better spirits about the character, yet his confession sparked countless conversations on social media about the toxicity of fandom.
Frank Oz, who portrays Yoda, replied to Best, “Ahmed, So damn glad you’re getting all these tweets of love and support. The audiences don’t understand that we all put our hearts in our work. They have a right to dislike that work with critical comments. We can take that. But why constant bludgeoning vitriol? That’s what hurts.”
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn shared a post on Twitter about Best’s reveal, which he then followed up, “People responding to this post saying, ‘Yeah, it wasn’t the actor’s fault! It was the writer’s!’ are missing the point. Critique it. Don’t like it. But spewing hate and bile at individuals just doing their best to tell a story, even if the story sucks, is lame. Don’t watch it!”
Gunn added, “Star Wars (or any movie) may be important to you, but it doesn’t belong to you. If your self-esteem depends on how good you think the current Star Wars is, or your childhood is ruined because you don’t like something in a movie, GO TO THERAPY.”
Christopher McQuarrie, who directed Mission: Impossible – Fallout, claims he has no interest in directing a Star Wars movie due to potential fan backlash.
“My friend, After five minutes of this, I don’t know why you’re still on Twitter,” McQuarrie shared with The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson. “I would have loved to make a Star Wars film someday. I’m cured.”
The next Star Wars film, Episode IX, is slated to hit theaters on December 20, 2019.