7:07am PT by Jackie Strause
'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' Star Will Poulter Leaves Twitter Amid Backlash
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch co-star Will Poulter is taking a step back from Twitter over the "inevitable negatives that are best avoided" on the social media platform after the release of his Netflix interactive film.
The 26-year-old British actor offered a "heartfelt" thank-you to viewers who watched Bandersnatch, the choose-your-own-adventure-style Netflix movie from Charlie Brooker that launched on the streamer Dec. 28. Addressing negative responses, he said in his statement, "I accept all criticisms and it's been a delight to learn that so many of you enjoyed what many people worked very hard to produce!"
He continued, "As we all know there is a balance to be struck in our engagements with social media. There are positives to enjoy and inevitable negatives that are best avoided. It's a balance I have struggled with for a while now and in the interest of my mental health I feel the time has come to change my relationship with social media."
He said he will continue to use the platform to support the organizations he works with, including @AntiBullyingPro, @leap_cc, @MayMeasure and @bptcompany.
"I hope that this shift to reduce my personal expression and increase the focus on issues that matter will result in a better outcome for everyone."
He then signed off with a nod to Bandersnatch: "This is not the end. Consider it an alternative path."
Poulter plays a famed video gamer named Colin Ritman in Bandersnatch, which is set in 1984 and follows a programmer played by Fionn Whitehead who sets out on a meta adventure.
The stand-alone Black Mirror film, which is told in branching narrative style, lets viewers be active participants in the story as they pick from a series of choices as the story unfolds. The project launched Netflix into the live-action interactive programming space and was a trending topic on Twitter over the long holiday weekend as viewers uncovered the many story paths and multiple endings to the plot.
Since its release, Poulter, whose credits include We're the Millers and The Revenant, has been engaging with some fans on Twitter. "I'm so f@!%ing nervous, I can't relax. The irony," he wrote before the film dropped, referencing the "Relax" theme song from the trailer.
Bandersnatch hid its interactivity before launch and released with little promotion from Netflix in a bid to surprise fans of the series.
Poulter's Detroit co-star John Boyega, who has spoken out in defense of his Star Wars co-stars who have been bullied by online trolls, supported Poulter's decision. "Best thing you can do mate, well done," he replied to Poulter. Star Wars: The Last Jedi co-star Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley both quit Twitter over online abuse.
Poulter joins a growing list of stars who are exiting the platform, either temporarily or permanently. Ruby Rose quit Twitter after backlash to her casting as The CW's Batwoman, and Stranger Things star Millie Bobbie Brown only interacts through her anti-bullying account. (Twitter does not comment on individual user accounts.)
Though Poulter is taking a step back from Twitter, his future on Black Mirror looks much brighter. The team behind Bandersnatch, including director David Slade and creator-writer Brooker, have raved about the actor's performance in the piece, which redefined the traditional filmmaking process.
Brooker has even suggested that Poulter, whose character is trans-dimensional in Bandersnatch, could show up in future Black Mirror episodes.
"I like the idea of that — he could show up anywhere," Brooker told THR about how the story ends for Colin. "Colin was one of those where he popped up as a character and then I kept writing more and more for him because I was really enjoying his character. Will, if you compare him in Bandersnatch to him in Detroit where he is terrified, you can see what a versatile actor he is. We loved him."