From internet trolls to angry fan boys, the state of today’s movie-going and TV-watching public is larger and more diverse than ever before. With the ease of internet usage, are the fans and audiences for these projects causing too many problems for directors, producers, actors and studios?
Let’s face it: we’re living in a time of overwhelming senses of entitlement when it comes to “expecting” certain things from our favorite films and TV shows such as casting, character selection, etc. People get it in their heads that just because they have a vision of what they think something should be that they can complain enough about it enough that eventually it could actually cause an issue with that particular project.
That is the world we live in today, folks. A world where any person can hop onto a social media networking site like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and harass other people or celebrities, start rumors, or cause a potential issue with the job they’re currently working on. These people can also create online petitions to have actors or directors removed from a project just because they don’t like them. In today’s world, one in which we’re still facing issues like racism, sexism, and so many other trivial matters, the combination of the technology and ease of interaction between fans and celebrities has caused issues many times.
A fresh example of this can be shown with the case of Scarlett Johansson and her decision to step away from her role in the upcoming Rub & Tug film, which features a transgender lead character. Johansson and her production company were set to begin filming before online backlash from various communities forced her to step away from the project. Whichever side you find yourself on regarding the issue, the fact remains that if the general public didn’t have the means to cause such a stink about it, the film would still be moving forward with Johansson starring.
Another example of fans causing issues comes from the directorial side of things. Take a look at some of the directors like James Mangold that dismissed rumors of directing Star Wars spinoff films. These directors are seeing all of the hateful online comments and tweets that are sent toward people like James Gunn, Rian Johnson or Joss Whedon and don’t want the headache of going through the process of creating a film only to be criticized at every turn. If this trend continues, Disney & LucasFilm are going to start having a hard time getting new films made if they can’t get somebody behind the camera that won’t be scared off of the project.
Much like cyber bullying is an issue that kids face today, it’s also something that celebrities face as well. There have been countless actors that have deleted their social media accounts because of hateful comments constantly flooding their inboxes. Things got so bad for actor Ahmed Best, whom having played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel films, considered suicide after the hatred sent his way. Do a Google search of other stories like these and see for yourself.
The fact that people like us can have such an impact on the Hollywood industry can also be seen as a good thing in certain ways. It gives us an outlet to put our thoughts and concerns out for others to debate about. But this should be done in a respectful way that promotes positivity and fun. There are plenty of social issues that are being fought over everyday, and different communities are voicing their thoughts and fighting for their chances at equality.
With traits like race, religion or sexuality, people want to see representations of themselves in movies just like anybody else would. So in the case of Scarlett Johansson, the transgender community wanted her out of the role in order to get a transgender actor to play the part. Whether that helps or hurts the movie will ultimately come down to box office numbers, the fact that there was such upheaval from the public can be a force for change. Whether or not you agree with the change is a different topic that won’t be gotten into here.
There are certainly plenty of instances in which the general public have impacted Hollywood and different ways in which these events originate. But the point can’t be denied. Today’s audiences do have an impact on films and TV shows, and there are plenty of examples regarding pros and cons. The thing that needs to change regarding this issue shouldn’t be that celebrities have to stop using Twitter. The negativity within these comments and tweets needs to change. People need to start treating each other better. They need to realize that words can hurt people no matter who they are. We’re all a part of these fan communities because we’re passionate about the properties we love.
So when something in a movie or TV show happens, we don’t need to jump on Twitter and start telling these actors and directors to kill themselves and start arguing with everybody that disagrees with us. We can respectfully debate things without being so nasty to each other. The culture of decency needs to change drastically, and we need to start setting that tone immediately.
The entertainment industry is a business first and foremost, don’t forget that. If a film casts an actor in a role that you don’t agree with, voice your opinion in a civilized way, but don’t start tweeting terrible things and trying to get people fired from their jobs. We have the option to not support projects that we don’t agree with. If you want to hit the studio where it hurts, hit them in their wallet.
So with examples from both sides of the conversation being laid out, let us know your thoughts. Are things black and white or are there case by case situations that wouldn’t be so controversial?