Nolte: Rich, Privileged Kelly Marie Tran Hailed for ‘Surviving’ Mean Tweets

FILE - In this March 4, 2018, file photo, Kelly Marie Tran arrives at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Tran is breaking her silence about online harassment months after deleting her Instagram account. In an essay published Tuesday, Aug. 21, in The New York Times, the …
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

If you want to get a gander as to where our narcissistic, snowflake culture is at these days, actress Kelly Marie Tran just scored a full-blown Hollywood Reporter cover story for — get this — “surviving” mean tweets.

You remember Kelly Marie Tran, the poor woman stuck with that awful Rose Tico role in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Rose Tico is not Tran’s fault. She didn’t create that dreadful, humorless, self-righteous character. Nor is it her fault that director Rian Johnson thought it would be appealing to have her spend the entire movie walking around with a smug face — a face that would be deemed “punchable” on a man.

Nevertheless, the unfair world being what it is, she was still hit with some of the blowback, and now we’re being asked to celebrate her fearlessness for “surviving” mean tweets.

Here are some lowlights in an article titled: “The Resurrection of Kelly Marie Tran: On Surviving ‘Star Wars’ Bullying, the Pressures of Representation, and ‘Raya and the Last Dragon:'”

Everyone knows what happened after the movie came out. Rian Johnson’s vision of a galaxy far, far away divided obsessive fans, and Tran, as the franchise’s most prominent newcomer and first woman of color in a lead role, bore the brunt of the haters’ ire. (John Boyega and Daisy Ridley faced similar harassment when they were introduced in Episode VII.) They polluted her feed with racist and sexist insults, she deleted all her posts, and by the time The Rise of Skywalker premiered in December 2019, the girl who happy-cried her way down her first red carpet two years earlier had been replaced by a woman who stared down the cameras at the El Capitan Theatre, lips sealed in a defiant pout.

A “defiant pout,” y’all. Wow, what a role model. More…

“If someone doesn’t understand me or my experience, it shouldn’t be my place to have to internalize their misogyny or racism or all of the above. Maybe they just don’t have the imagination to understand that there are different types of people living in the world.”

Other than an op-ed in The New York Times, in which she penned an assertive, moving declaration of renewed purpose to combat the “lies” that society teaches about women and people of color, Tran also withdrew from the spotlight altogether.

After receiving all those mean tweets, Tran says she said “no to a lot of things,” which means that after she allowed a bunch of nasty nobodies to control her feelings, she enjoyed the unique privilege of not having to work.

She adds: “I realized, I didn’t know how I felt anymore. And I didn’t remember why I was in this in the first place…. Any time that happens, I have to close up shop and go away for a while and really interact in the real world — read books and journal and go on hikes[.]”

I’m in no way defending the garbage that Tran faced, and if the tweets really were sexist and racist, that’s indefensible. But come on…

Yes, people were mean to her, but at the time, let’s not forget she had the totality of two mammoth Death Stars defending her: the entertainment and media establishment. Unlike everyday people — who are not rich, privileged movie stars and who also receive plenty of mean tweets —  she was far from alone in this fight.

I’m sorry, but melting down over anonymous people being mean to you online is not the kind of behavior we should be celebrating.

First off, when someone hurts our feelings, most of us do not enjoy the privilege to say “no” to work and then go off on a journey of self-exploration with long hikes and journaling and a defiant pout.

Apparently, no one loves Kelly Marie Tran enough to tell her the truth, to explain to her life isn’t fair, that she’s much too old to be acting like a baby, that she should not allow anonymous assholes to control her feelings, and one of the secrets to a happy life is a thick skin combined with the ability to laugh at yourself.

Honestly, is celebrating a rich, privileged movie star’s inability to handle anonymous criticism from people who don’t matter what we want to teach our children? Or do we want to teach our children to roll with the punches and the all-important lessons of “sticks ‘n stones?”

I’m truly sorry she went through this, but on no planet is a neurotic, 32-year-old baby a positive role model, especially for kids who are about to enter the real world, a world where if you put on a “defiant pout” and quit your job you lose your house.

Most importantly, do we really want to teach our kids that you should allow other people, most especially nobodies on social media, to control your feelings, to ruin your life… Do we want to become a culture of Kelly Marie Trans where we give anonymous Twitter trolls full control over how we feel about ourselves?

If I crawled into a ball every time I received a vile tweet or vile piece of hate mail (some of it so vile I can’t describe it here), I would be unemployed, divorced, and living in my car.

Like I said, having been there — and it’s not fun — I am sorry Trans went through this, and none of it is fair, but life is never fair, and someone needs to tell her the truth, which is, Toughen up, buttercup.

 Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

 

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