Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars franchise, recently revealed how backlash from fans against his character made him consider suicide.
Best voiced and provided the motion capture for the quirky CGI alien in the three Star Wars prequels. The actor was 25 at the time and Jar Jar Binks was his first major film role.
Unfortunately, the reaction to his character was anything but positive. Fans and media were generally disappointed with the prequels and Jar Jar Binks quickly became a target and scapegoat for the franchise’s perceived failings.
In a Twitter post, Ahmed Best recounted that time in his career and, while not explicitly naming the Star Wars movie, was very straight-forward about how the backlash he faced after portraying Binks was a personal low.
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. pic.twitter.com/NvVnImoJ7N
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) July 3, 2018
This prompted an outpouring of support from Star Wars fans and alumni, including Rian Johnson, who directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Lots of love to you Ahmed. I think there are many of us who’d get quite alot from hearing your story.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) July 3, 2018
Previously, Best spoke to Wired about receiving death threats after playing Jar Jar Binks. “I had people come to me and say: ‘You destroyed my childhood’,” he said. “That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.”
However, this isn’t the first time that the Star Wars community has created a toxic environment for one of its actors. Kelly Marie Tran – who portrayed Rose Tico – deleted all of the images from her Instagram account after suffering months of sexist and racial abuse. John Boyega has also been the targed of race-fueled trolling, while Rian Johnson is often credited for “destroying” the franchise.
What are your thoughts on Jar Jar Binks and the backlash the character and Ahmed Best received? Let us know in the comments.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, there are resources to help you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
You can call directly at 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, you can contact Samaritans at 116 123.