Angry fans and geek rage is nothing new. It seems that every time a major casting announcement is made, or a new trailer for the next geek property is released, a certain segment of the fanbase loses their minds and vents their ire all over the Internet. And unfortunately, there are some in the community who take things too far. Lines get crossed, either intentionally or unintentionally, and people’s lives are negatively affected.
When it comes to toxicity in the Star Wars fandom, we have a few really good examples. Most recently Kelly Marie Tran from The Last Jedi deleted all of her Instagram posts due to harassment. But I think that things really started going south when The Phantom Menace was released in 1999.
Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen were a few targets of criticism, and Lloyd actually left acting because of it. While some of it may have been justified, much of it probably wasn’t. Actor Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks in the prequels, took the majority of the backlash. So much so that he recently revealed that it pushed him to contemplate suicide. Now, actor Simon Pegg has apologized for his own negative comments about the character.
Pegg was one of the highest-profile figures to make harsh jokes. His character Tim from the comedy series Spaced exhibited a particular hatred towards Jar Jar Binks. There’s even a scene of Tim screaming at a child for wanting to buy a toy of Jar Jar. However, in a new interview, Pegg has expressed regret for his own role in the harassment of Best.
Simon Pegg feels guilty for all the negative things he’s said about Jar Jar Binks pic.twitter.com/fnVnfsNe5c
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 24, 2018
I feel so ashamed of the fact that there was a victim, a human victim in that. I think most people were regarding Jar Jar Binks like he was a real creature, and wailing on him for being annoying him or whatever, or not liking him. But there was a person behind that. And I read that and just thought ‘Christ, I’m one of those people.’ It makes me feel awful.
There’s no diplomacy in that, there’s no empathy. We’re becoming very, very insular, as human beings. We’re becoming very self-driven, selfist, our opinions, our needs, our wants. I feel sorry for Kelly Marie Tran. She was just in a film, a f*cking film is all it is. None of it matters, none of it. I think it would be nice if everyone just got on. You know, and stopped being so aggressive.
With Pegg being highly regarded in the geek community, hopefully others will take a cue from his words and realize that there’s no place in any fandom for such hate and vitriol.