Kumail Nanjiani and a handful of film, television, and comic book writers are coming to Kelly Marie Tran’s defense following the news the actress wiped her Instagram account clean in the wake of extreme social media harassment from angry “Star Wars” fans. Tran joined the “Star Wars” franchise last December when her character, Rose Tico, was introduced in “The Last Jedi.” The actress made history as the first woman of color to play a lead role in the franchise.
“Rose Tico was unequivocally one of the highlights of ‘The Last Jedi,'” Nanjiani tweeted in reaction to the news about Tran’s harassment. “You’d have to be an idiot to disagree with that. I look forward to the hundreds of awesome things she will make over the course of her long career.”
Indie filmmaker Ted Geoghegan added his voice in support of Tran by tweeting: “I wish I had enough clout to make a movie starring Kelly Marie Tran.”
Rian Johnson, who directed Tran in “The Last Jedi,” also took to social media to make an important clarification about “Star Wars” fans. The filmmaker made a distinction between the “real ‘Star Wars’ fans” he’s met over the last several years and the “few unhealthy people” who harassed Tran and “cast a big shadow” over the fandom at large.
“On social media a few unhealthy people can cast a big shadow on the wall, but over the past four years I’ve met lots of real fellow ‘Star Wars’ fans,” Johnson said. “We like and dislike stuff but we do it with humor, love, and respect. We’re the VAST majority, we’re having fun and doing just fine.”
Tran has been the victim of social media harassment in the months since the release of “The Last Jedi.” Angry “Star Wars” fans have criticized Tran’s appearance and racial identity, plus the fact that her character represents another woman in a major role in a “Star Wars” film. The harassment extended to the “Star Wars” Wookieepedia website, where people altered the Rose Tico page to feature racist language.
The actress has yet to make an official statement as to why she wiped her Instagram account clean, but the rumor that it is because of online harassment has only made it clear just how many supporters and fans she does have in her corner. You can read Nanjiani’s support of Tran and more defenses below.
I look forward to the hundreds of awesome things she will make over the course of her long career. #TeamTran
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 5, 2018
What we talk about when we talk about manbabies
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 5, 2018
On social media a few unhealthy people can cast a big shadow on the wall, but over the past 4 years I’ve met lots of real fellow SW fans. We like & dislike stuff but we do it with humor, love & respect. We’re the VAST majority, we’re having fun & doing just fine. https://t.co/yhcShg5vdJ
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 5, 2018
Kelly Marie Tran’s quote on her Instagram page — “Afraid, but doing it anyway. 🦁” is a thing I adore without reserve. She is a force for light and joy and unabashed engagement with the things you love, and to think of the harassment she’s received is infuriating.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) June 5, 2018
Kelly Marie Tran is a goddamn treasure and I will not hear otherwise.
— Ashly Burch (@ashly_burch) June 5, 2018
If you followed Kelly Marie Tran on instagram then you know she has been one of the loveliest and most positive souls on the goddamn internet in the past year and I will FIGHT every last person who hurt her https://t.co/WDP6j2HM5N
— Sarah Dollard (@snazdoll) June 5, 2018
I was lucky enough to meet Kelly Marie Tran briefly, and she was incredibly nice to a comics writer who may have been geeking out a bit too much. It’s fine to not like fictional characters. It’s not fine to harass actual human people. https://t.co/sti2my7zdD
— Jody Houser ✒🗯🎲 (@Jody_Houser) June 5, 2018
Hating doesn’t make you a true Star Wars fan, it just proves you have no idea what Star Wars is about. You’re like Chris Christie at a Springsteen show, never once listening to the message: https://t.co/ej8ZDjqAzE
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) June 5, 2018
I wish I had enough clout to make a movie starring Kelly Marie Tran.
— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) June 5, 2018
If #KellyMarieTran quitting social media because of asshole Star Wars fans is true…that’s awful. I know Kelly, she is one of the sweetest kindest and funniest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with. She’s an inspiration and a joy and doesn’t deserve this.
— Garon Cockrell (@MyNameIsGaron) June 5, 2018