Actor who played Jar-Jar Binks in 'Stars Wars' reveals his suicide hell after response to his character
Has there ever been a fictional character hated as passionately as Jar-Jar Binks?
For Star Wars fans around the globe, the CGI Gungan seemed to epitomise everything terrible about The Phantom Menace, and the vitriol directed at him was bitter and vocal. It seems like nobody (aside from very young kids) found the supposed comic relief character very funny; something which was exacerbated by the fact that many considered Jar-Jar to embody a number of negative racial stereotypes surrounding Jamaicans. Jar-Jar is so loathed that there are no less than a whopping 32 fansites dedicated solely to bashing him.
Man, learn to heal and grow guys.
But the one person who suffered more than all the fanboys and girls put together? Actor and performer Ahmed Best, the man who actually played Jar-Jar. When Best was first cast as Jar-Jar, he was elated to have a part in a huge Hollywood blockbuster - and in a Star Wars film to boot! He threw everything into the role, expecting his alien character to become every bit as iconic as Chewbacca, Yoda and R2-D2. But when the film was released and the reviews came out (and nerds hit the message boards), Best was dismayed to learn just how despised his character was.
As you can imagine, the overreaction to the character didn't exactly do wonders for Best's self-esteem, and in a candid Twitter post, he has opened up about his struggle with depression and suicide in the wake of the Star Wars prequel's release. The pic shows Best surveying the horizon with his son, and is captioned: "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."
A number of Best's Twitter followers tweeted their support in response to the post. One user wrote: "People need to separate character from individual. I don’t know you as a person in real life, but I do know that somewhere out there in the world there is a kid who grew up on Jar-Jar, a kid who’s fav. character is Jar-Jar and that truly is something special," while another added: "I also really disliked Jar-Jar, but I feel like any issue should be taken up with writers/directors? I hate the hate actors get when a movie is bad. They usually had nothing to do with it. Hell those movies made Natalie Portman seem like a bad actor."
More recently, actress Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico in The Last Jedi, was forced to delete her Instagram posts following the harassment and death threats she received from angry fans. Tran was another actor who ended up suffering due to online backlash towards her character, so it seems like certain toxic fans have learned nothing since 1999.
Guys, I love Star Wars as much as the next guy, but come on. No franchise (not even my own beloved Doctor Who) is worth sending someone death threats over. Criticise all you like, but don't resort to abuse and bigotry. If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal feelings, then contact the Samaritans (116 123) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) for help.