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While Hollywood stars often rely on social media to interact with millions of fans, sometimes the virtual exchange isn't so friendly. Protected by the veil of internet anonymity, so-called internet "trolls" often take to Twitter to spew any and all thoughts and opinions. As demonstrated by President Donald Trump himself, anything goes on Twitter.
As a result of the invasive nature that platforms like Twitter present, many celebrities elect to remove themselves, even if for only a short time. From leading men like Armie Hammer to young TV stars like Millie Bobby Brown, Hollywood names from all walks of life have fallen victim to the backlash that can arise from having a strong online presence. Just last month, director James Gunn learned the effect social media can have on one's career when he was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 after old controversial tweets resurfaced.
Read on for more about 11 stars who have abandoned the Twitterverse.
Orange Is the New Black actress Ruby Rose was the most recent star to quit Twitter in a high-profile way, following backlash that emerged as a result of Rose's casting as lesbian superhero Batwoman in The CW's Arrow-verse. Twitter trolls from within the depths of the social media platform came out against Rose's casting, due to their own assertions that the Australian actress "wasn't lesbian enough" to play the role.
Rose responded to the backlash in one last tweet before removing herself from the platform altogether: "Where on earth did 'Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can't be batwoman' come from — has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I've ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with 'she's too gay' how do y'all flip it like that? I didn't change," she wrote.
But Rose isn't the first female actress to receive harassment on Twitter from fans obsessed with a particular franchise. Leslie Jones took the brunt of racist and misogynistic backlash as a result of the gender-swapped Ghostbusters reboot, while Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Kelly Marie Tran nearly pulled away from social media altogether after a series of online harassment.
In response, fellow castmembers and Hollywood stars, like Arrow's Stephen Amell and LBTQIA actress Laverne Cox, took to Twitter to express support and congratulations for Rose.
Hey @RubyRose — Welcome!! It’s characters like Batwoman that will carry our Universe into the future. See you soon!
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) August 10, 2018
Congrats @RubyRose. Totally awesomely good! https://t.co/UWWUbyu8EU
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) August 7, 2018
Even Twitter icon and active user Chrissy Teigen had to take a break from the platform at one point in her tweeting career. With more than 10.6 million followers on Twitter, Teigen has a substantial audience with whom she often candidly shares her thoughts and opinions.
In 2014, the model left the social media platform after sending out a controversial tweet in the wake of an active shooting in Canada.
active shooting in Canada, or as we call it in america, wednesday
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 22, 2014
After receiving multiple death threats via Twitter, Teigen removed herself from the situation, claiming to "take [her] talents to Instagram" instead.
However, Teigen couldn't stay away forever and returned a week later to her tweeting habits.
Call Me by Your Name star Armie Hammer stepped away from the "toxic environment" of Twitter in November, just a day after Buzzfeed published a scathing analysis of the actor's ascension to stardom.
The article, titled Ten Long Years of Trying to Make Armie Hammer Happen, explores the many "second chances" and endless opportunities that the author argues Hollywood gave the actor. In many ways, the article discredits Hammer's value as an actor, claiming that despite his shortcomings, "Hollywood would never give up on a guy that handsome, that tall, that white with a jaw that square."
Hammer's response came in a tweet in which he called the writer of the article "bitter," followed by his resignation from the platform. As for Hammer's reasoning behind his decision to quit Twitter, the actor told The Wrap that he "just [has] no impulse control."
Hammer returned to Twitter a few months later.
In typical and inexplicable fashion, Kanye West mysteriously deleted both his Twitter and Instagram accounts back in May 2017. Although the reasoning behind West's online disappearance was never fully revealed, the rapper suddenly returned to Twitter in April of this year as if he had never left.
Some have speculated that West's leave from social media had something to do with his meeting with President Donald Trump a few weeks prior.
Kelly Marie Tran
Following the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Vietnamese-American actress Kelly Marie Tran was subject to months and months of racist and sexist online harassment for her performance as Rose in the film. As the first person of color to take on a leading role in the Star Wars franchise, Tran fell victim to not only direct offenses via social platforms like Twitter and Instagram, but also other forms of cyber-harassment. Alt-right Internet personality Paul Ray Ramsey targeted Tran's physical appearance, while Tran's character page on the Star Wars "Wookieepedia" website was altered with offensive, racist language by anonymous contributors.
As a result, Tran silently left Twitter and deleted all of the photos from her Instagram page. The actress' Instagram bio reads: "Afraid but doing it anyway."
Amid the cyber attacks, Tran's Star Wars co-stars came to her support, with John Boyega calling for harassment to stop. In addition, Mark Hamill tweeted a photo with Tran, accompanied by the hashtag #GetALifeNerds.
What's not to love?#GetALifeNerds pic.twitter.com/k1sa0X1qpg
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 6, 2018
On Tuesday, Tran spoke out against the harassment for the first time in an op-ed for the New York Times. In the guest article, Tran describes her own diminished feelings of self-worth as a result of the hateful comments.
"I want to live in a world where children of color don't spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white," Tran wrote. "I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence. I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings."
Tran will be returning as Rose in J.J Abrams' final installment of the franchise's newest trilogy, Star Wars: Episode IX.
Before the recent allegations of his sexual misconduct, Louis C.K. left Twitter for other reasons in 2015. Although he was never particularly active on the platform to begin with (save for promotional tweets of his upcoming projects), the comedian deleted his account of his own accord, much to the confusion of his fans.
During an appearance on SiriusXM's Opie Radio Show, C.K. explained his distaste for Twitter.
"It didn't make me feel good," the comedian said. "It made me feel bad instead. So I stopped doing it."
"It's too instant," he elaborated. "I don't think the speed helps dialogue. I think it's why everything is kind of fucked up and polarizing, because people are going too fast, they're trying to react too quickly."
C.K. has yet to return to the Twitterverse.
Millie Bobby Brown
Despite her young age and wide fan base, Stranger Things breakout Millie Bobby Brown was no exception to becoming the victim of cyberbullying on Twitter, ultimately leading to her decision to deactivate her account.
In early June, Brown quickly became the target of fandom Twitter accounts, using the 14-year-old actress as the subject of homophobic memes. Users would recount clearly false and outlandish stories of Brown interacting violently with fans of the LGBTQIA community. Additionally, the hashtag #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown began to circulate.
As a result of the offensive tweets, Brown, an anti-bullying activist in her own right, deleted her Twitter account. However, her anti-bullying account @milliestopshate still exists on the site.
Following Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn's recent firing from the franchise, Gunn's fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe director Scott Derrickson deactivated his own Twitter account. The Doctor Strange helmer never directly fully explained why. However, he is still active on Instagram, recently posting a photo of the Doctor Strange cast along with the caption: "I've left Twitter. But I'll stay here for now."
I’ve left twitter. But I’ll stay here for now. During this Entertainment Weekly shoot I stepped behind the cameraman and made the rock n roll ‘sing of the horns’, and this pic was the group’s reaction. I love that it became the magazine’s cover.
A post shared by Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) on Jul 27, 2018 at 8:28pm PDT
James Gunn isn't the only Hollywood director with a traceable internet past. Dan Harmon, creator of the NBC sitcom Community and Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, recently left Twitter after the resurfacing of an offensive sketch that he had written and directed in 2009. Like Gunn, Harmon was reportedly targeted by far-right conservatives looking to dig up some dirt from the past.
The sketch features Harmon playing a therapist who repeatedly molests a plastic baby doll. Since the video's resurgence, Harmon has since apologized for his controversial actions, calling the content "distasteful."
British actress Hayley Atwell left Twitter in 2015 during a time when the actress' presence in Hollywood was largely tied to her role as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger and on ABC's Agent Carter.
In her last tweet, she wrote: "Must make it clear, no 'trolls' have chased me away, I've just decided to leave to be more present and private. Thanks for following!"
In an interview with The A.V. Club, Atwell expressed that she much prefers Instagram now, where she can utilized her humor and creativity. Her one social media rule? Don't read comments.
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran temporarily deleted his Twitter account following a mixture of responses from internet trolls regarding his brief cameo on HBO's Game of Thrones. While some praised the red-headed musician, others were irritated by his presence on the critically acclaimed show.
The British star later confirmed that he had always wanted to get away from Twitter, due to people saying "mean things." However, he said the decision was not directly influenced by his involvement in Game of Thrones: "Timing was just a coincidence."
Although the account is still active, Sheeran's bio reads: "I don't use this anymore, please follow me on teddysphotos on instagram, lots of love x." He still maintains 19.5 million followers on Twitter.
Alec Baldwin has quit Twitter not once, not twice, but three times over the course of his social media existence.
The actor originally terminated his account in 2012, only two days after his wedding to wife Hilaria. Then, Baldwin deactivated again in 2013, following a slew of aggressive and explicit tweets directed at a Daily Mail reporter.
Most recently, Saturday Night Live's Donald Trump impersonator ceased all Twitter activity once more, after receiving backlash in regard to some comments he made about the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Baldwin apologized for his comments in a series of tweets, stating, "It is w some degree of sadness that I will suspend posting on this a TWITTER account for a period of and in the current climate."
2- It was never my intention, in my public statements, to “blame the victim” in the many sexual assault cases that have emerged recently
— AlecBaldwin (@AlecBaldwin) November 4, 2017
Since then, Baldwin has resumed his use of the social media platform, even engaging in Twitter arguments with notorious tweeter Trump himself.
Similarly to her Star Wars: The Last Jedi co-star Kelly Marie Tran, Daisy Ridley quit social media, following negative online harassment from internet trolls. In fact, the franchise's leading woman has been largely outspoken in her vehement opposition to social media and its negative influence on people's lives.
Although Ridley deleted her Twitter account in 2014 prior to her breakout performance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the British actress garnered widespread media attention when she publicly deleted her Instagram account in 2016. The decision stemmed from negative backlash Ridley, following an Instagram post that addressed Ridley's encounter with family members to victims of gun violence.
The post read: "… Serious bit: as I sat in the audience yesterday tears were streaming down my face at the tribute to those that been lost to gun violence. I didn't get a great picture of the incredible group that came on stage but they were so brave. It was a true moment of togetherness. We must #stoptheviolence."
In retaliation, several anti-gun control fans responded with messages imploring the actress to keep her political opinions to herself. As a result of the negative backlash, Ridley deleted her Instagram account.
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