Kelly Marie Tran, the Vietnamese-American actress who portrayed Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, spent the weekend deleting her Instagram posts, leaving behind a completely barren account; it should be noted, however, that she has not gone so far as to delete the account entirely.
Figuring out the road map that led to these events requires some attention to Tran’s turn as Rose in Episode VIII. As a young actress in the early stage of her career, her successful casting in the part seemed like kismet, and her uniquely earnest and grateful energy demonstrated at events and press conferences prior to release singled her out as one of the film's most prominent personalities, on and off the screen. It was widely reported Rose was Last Jedi's biggest new role, and Tran made headlines with specific social media posts, such as when she wore her áo dài, a traditional Vietnamese garment, alongside actress Ngô Thanh Vân. In posts on Instagram featuring the pair, she shared insights about her heritage and thanked her immigrant parents for their help and support.
Through Instagram, Tran utilized her earned spotlight to express words of positive encouragement and empowerment, but it was these same actions which also led to increased attention and trolling by Star Wars’ more toxic and regressive fans. Now those posts, and any other, have all been completely deleted, leaving behind a desolate Instagram page for her 191,000 followers, and the poignant page description, “Afraid, but doing it anyway.”
These events are hardly unprecedented, with countless instances of targeted harassment for Tran, fellow Star Wars co-star Daisy Ridley, and other actors in the franchise — and oftentimes women. Ridley outright deleted her Instagram account in 2017 after reading negative comments criticizing her physical appearance in photos from an event held in tribute to victims of the Pulse massacre. As of Tran’s semi-departure from social media, Ridley has still not returned to the platform.
Star Wars trolls have been highly active ever since the new episodes first launched, resorting to various strategies and hate-campaigning, with Tran being a noted target for racist page vandalism on the fan-site Wookieepedia. With this latest development, it’s possible that she may indeed follow Ridley’s lead and fully depart from social media, with Twitter fans voicing their frustration that another target for bullying may have to avoid the public eye in pursuit of self-care.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019