A couple of months ago, Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran was forced to delete her Instagram account due to sexist and racist trolling.
The abuse had been going on for months. Director Rian Johnson and co-stars John Boyega and Mark Hamill attempted to help her, but eventually she simply deleted her social media without any warning.
Tran, who will reprise her role as Rose Tico in next year’s Star Wars: Episode IX, has written a lengthy statement for The New York Times.
She said: “It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them,
“Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories. And those words awakened something deep inside me—a feeling I thought I had grown out of.”
She continued: “Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other,’ that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them. And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.”
“I believed those words, those stories, carefully crafted by a society that was built to uphold the power of one type of person—one sex, one skin tone, one existence,
“It reinforced within me rules that were written before I was born, rules that made my parents deem it necessary to abandon their real names and adopt American ones—Tony and Kay—so it was easier for others to pronounce, a literal erasure of culture that still has me aching to the core.
For months, Tran said she went “down a spiral of self-hate, into the darkest recesses of my mind, places where I tore myself apart, where I put their words above my own self-worth. And it was then that I realized I had been lied to.”
She says that she now accepts that she “had been brainwashed into believing that my existence was limited to the boundaries of another person’s approval. I had been tricked into thinking that my body was not my own, that I was beautiful only if someone else believed it, regardless of my own opinion. I had been told and retold this by everyone: by the media, by Hollywood, by companies that profited from my insecurities, manipulating me so that I would buy their clothes, their makeup, their shoes, in order to fill a void that was perpetuated by them in the first place.”
Fair play to her for speaking out.