Star Wars actor says backlash almost led him to suicide

Jar Jar Binks first appeared in 1999, and has since become one of the most despised characters in the Star Wars universe.


Video screenshot by Anthony Domanico / CNET

The actor who played Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace revealed this week that fans’ rapid response to his character almost led him to take his own life.

Ahmed Best, on Tuesday posted a photo on Twitter with him and his son, saying “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.”

The computer-generated character Jar Jar Binks first appeared in 1999, and has since become one of the most despised characters in the Star Wars universe.

“I had death threats through the internet,” Best, now 44, told Wired last year. “I had people come to me and say, ‘You destroyed my childhood.’ That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.”

Star Wars’ fans have a history of sending toxic comments, emails and posts to actors and directors they dislike. Last month “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” actress Kelly Marie Tran deleted all of the posts on her Instagram account, leaving only a message that reads, “Afraid, but doing it anyway,” and an Ewok emoji at the end.  And some fan have become so angry with “The Last Jedi,” they’ve petitioned to have the film removed from the Star Wars canon and sent death threats to its director, Rian Johnson.

Best thanked the nearly 40,000 people who liked the tweet and the 3,000 people who offered their support.”Thank you all for your love and kindness,” he wrote. “It means very much to me.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information, and local resources. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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