Ahmed Best, the actor known for playing Jar Jar Binks throughout the Star Wars prequels, has today revealed that the backlash to his goofy CG character was so intense he almost took his own life.
Via Twitter, Best opened up about his suicidal thoughts, admitting that it’s now coming up on 20 years since he faced a resentment “that still affects my career today.” The Phantom Menace initially released back in ’99 and was Ahmed Best’s first major film role.
Jar Jar was a character who played well with children, and therefore gained the backing of franchise creator George Lucas. But fans of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy made no bones about their hate and overall disdain for the clumsy Gungan – so much so, that Ahmed Best received death threats at the age of 25.
I had death threats through the internet. I had people come to me and say, ‘You destroyed my childhood.’ That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.
Following his Star Wars debut in The Phantom Menace, Best later reprised his CG role for Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005), and the actor-musician is now posting about “possibly performing a one-man show timed to the anniversary of Phantom Menace.”
But more importantly, here’s that heartfelt message from the man himself:
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
Let this be further proof that a movie should never, ever, prompt a mass outpouring of hate and toxicity toward its creators/actors. There are human beings behind those frames, just like you and I – human beings that spent months (if not years) poring over the final cut to deliver a product worthy of your time. So even if it didn’t tickle your fancy, there’s simply nothing to gain by shitposting about those responsible. Constructive criticism, yes. Not shitposting.
Let’s do better, shall we?