Trolling on the internet

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

My son and I were talking the other day about how people and especially celebrities’ are trolled on the internet. It’s a terrible toll they have to bear, not only emotionally but sometimes they are being affected financially.

During the discussion, he told me about Toby Maguire as how he was snubbed on the internet; when fans were disappointed in him for his uncanny performance in the 3rd act of Spiderman 3. When he was a little younger, my son used to laugh and believed it was just for fun. Now, as he grew up, he considers it was very immature and naive of him to think like that at that time. Nevertheless, he never jumped into the bandwagon of insulting any actor on the internet or otherwise.

He has learned that there is a fine line between positive criticism and just trying to hurt others only out of anger or jealousy. It’s easy to do this behind the curtain using internet popular platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. Positive Criticism is a very healthy and mature aspect of teaching and learning. It not only benefits the readers, but the person being criticized and provides a chance to improve upon it. Critics, as well fans, when dissatisfied over performance or movie, have a right to show their emotions and feelings. After all, showmanship thrives on positive criticism.

People, who bully a famous personality over the internet, were just doing it for fun, maybe money, fame, or worse just for their egos. They rely on the viewers’ disappointment in the character as well as the actor. They choose to give names, provide a bizarre description of the particular actor, and feed on the hurt of the fans. It all spreads like a wildfire because it’s huge on the internet and everybody is doing it and they felt somewhat satisfied after expressing their anger. They may be very much disappointed and decide to join other tormentors, even just by laughing along with them sometimes.

Fans begin to see the actor in a different light, and unfortunately, that’s what happened to Tobey Maguire’. Once famous for his boyish innocent face, now considered as “Tobey face” and too whining. He was constantly trolled on YouTube by two podcast reviewers in particular. Instead of talking about his bad performance, they started attacking him personally. Things became worse when other “fans” joined them on the internet through comments. His career has taken a downfall, as instead of looking at his performance, fans and everybody else started to see him as “Tobey face”! I wanted to know as I have no idea, but I think the actor’s personnel life might have affected because of this. He is now nowhere to be seen.

Some are, though, not that unfortunate, like Andrew Garfield, who remained the target of trolling by some infamous reviewers on the internet and joined by “fans” worldwide.  He shut them up with his two critically acclaimed performances in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ and Mel Gibson’s war movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (nominated for Oscars). People go so far in their hatred that they become racist, misogynistic, and sometimes dangerous. They start to use threating languages and show total disregard for morality as such. Some of them are doing it for monetary benefits and popularity (which is not a just reason), but few got obsessed with it. This happened to Chris Stuckmann, a very popular film reviewer on YouTube and also a film blogger. His dad got a mysterious and threating call because he wrote a review in a hurry (which he himself thought was well-written). That particular person got Chris’s dad's number and then got the balls to call them like that. This shows his anguish and resents for no good reason. Such a person cannot be labeled as healthy and mentally sane.

The harassment of actors is not a new phenomenon. In the past, many celebrities were the victims of negative-criticisms too. They remained in the headlines of the papers, just for the sake of victimization. Media continuously reminded them of their ‘bad movie’ or ‘bad performance’, unrelated to the current situation in which they were in. None other than George Clooney said at a press conference that wherever he goes for a speech or in front of the press, he apologizes for his role as “Batman” in Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robins’(1997) before he proceeds with the press conference.

Deepika Padukone, an Indian actress, and a critically acclaimed celebrity talked about her own depression on the media openly. She was hounded by famous Indian newspapers for showing the cleavage. Later on, she was in a press conference where again she was asked by totally unprofessional press reporters about that same headlines in a very bad tone and attitude. I have seen, watched, and read several times that media attitude, especially towards actresses in India, is totally misogynistic and unprofessional. She mentioned in one of her tweets about that well-known and prestigious newspaper of India, “the Times of India”.

She is happily married and her husband has no problem whatever she wants, whether revealing or otherwise, because the choice should be hers and she knows what to wear etc. After all, she is a successful woman. Newspapers just encourage themselves about making those headlines, intentionally or unintentionally, hiding behind the curtain of “part of their job”, not realizing that they are actually disrespecting the privacy and private affairs of these public figures.

Anne Hathaway, who won the Academy award 2012, was very upset for not getting the proper appreciation from her fans as well as by some critics and the media alike; as she became the ‘Hathahaters' on the internet for trying too hard to be likable, etc. She remained a constant target of internet victimization, and she felt miserable at times.

She has moved on since her first baby boy was born and now the 2nd baby is on the way. We wish her all the health. She got off of the mind of her haters and critics by taking some time off, as she was lucky enough to do so. She chose to concentrate on what she can do the best – acting, of course. People changed their opinion after watching her in the ‘Ocean 8’ and ‘the Dark Knight rises’. She puts a benchmark and exemplified how to survive unnecessary hate on the internet.

They are, no doubt, public figures and know very well the cost of bad performance or disappointing their fans. In today’s world, it’s not easy for celebrities to forget about the insults e.g. internet trolling, and just go on with their lives, because it’s always there on the net. The actor who has played the infamous bitter character of Jar Jar Bing in the star wars was so much the target of hateful comments by the fans that he got clinically depressed with suicidal intentions. The director of star wars J J IBhram was so pissed off at the fans for their unsympathetic remarks and comments on the internet that he once said in an interview that “those fans need therapy”!

Yup Ellen DeGeneres is the latest victim of internet trolling. It happened to her on twitter just a few days back. She always reiterates at the end of her show to be kind to one another. Last weekend the writer and comedian Kevin T. Potter tweeted about this phrase of hers and added that how mean she is and claimed that he’s going to give 2 dollars for every authentic tweet to @LAfoodbank just to prove that she became the meanest person alive on tweeter threads.

In a way, we all are attached to our favorite actors. I mean, I like her and am her biggest fan. She’s a very open-minded and sharp, self-made TV anchor and stand-up comedian. Most of the people tweeting to the above are saying cruel things about her attitude towards them and how she had certain weird rules if you are working with her. People were paraphrasing the things, anyway, maybe she has made those guys angry or frustrated while they were working for her, but guys don’t we all do sometimes. If you have the courage and are bold enough then you might have to talk to her directly rather than to complain at her back. This is not the way a well- known person should treat another colleague especially a lady. It means, some guys were waiting as who will break the ice and jump at the first opportunity without giving a thought or consideration. It occurs to me that you may be fulfilling someone else’s agenda. These are public figures and they have to be in the limelight. While different people are working for them at different hours of the day, maybe it happened to be a bad day at work for them. The question is not whether what she did was wrong or otherwise, the main thing is the way we are living and dealing with our past frustration. We were not brave enough to confront her nor can we live with that. Naturally, at the first opportunity, people jumped to bully Ellen at twitter. Celebrities are doing their best to make our lives better by hosting wonderful shows, bringing characters alive, make us think and laugh, etc. They are valuable and vulnerable alike. Ellen has given a lot to the world through her talk shows. Nevertheless, her habits may not be tolerable or she may have some bad conducts or a particular taste or sensitive nose. She didn’t become famous by blaming or accusing somebody. She worked hard for this and she deserves our respect.

The person, who will suffer the most, will be us bullies at the end. Whenever we are unkind to somebody and knowingly or unknowingly agree with others in attacking his/her “bad work” or “bad behavior”; we are making ourselves very low. The person whom we targeted may get hurt or goes into the darkness with our attitude. For those, my dear friends, who are targeting convenient targets will never be a peace!

The kindness and forgiveness not only heal our bodies spiritually but this is a proven scientific fact too. If disapproval, disappointments, annoyance dislikeness, and anxieties are taking the shapes of bullying somebody, then as humans we are doomed.  We are lashing our anger on someone; it means we need to manage our lifestyle and mental health status. Nobody is perfect, we all are human at the end of the day and all we can do is to remain one! We are one of a kind among other species and have evolved so much and constantly combating with the nature wickedness. Maybe in doing so, we forget to be kind to ourselves. Remember if nature is harsh, it’s kind too!! It reminded me of the movie “Only God Forgives’ by Nichols Winding Refn (2013) or ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ by Danny Boyle‘s. In both these movies, it’s all about lives and struggles. How everything turns violent if we believe in it.  We always have a choice, and if to choose, pick kindness over right! Please watch these movies if you may and let me know. Until then be kind and forgive those who were unkind to you once, and see the difference! To all those critics I will leave you with this excerpt from my favorite movie Ratatouille:

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy.  We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”

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