First, let me introduce myself. I’m your guest writer for this month. My name is Ben Ludwig. I’m a writer and movie critic for a newspaper in Connecticut. I’m here to talk to everybody today. EU fans and D-canon fans alike. Very recently, a certain page that has conveniently disappeared so as to leave no evidence, that page has taken credit for the vicious attacks against The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran. How interesting that the page disappeared. It’s almost like their job was done and they vanished into the ether from whence they came. Let me state that neither I nor any of the members of the various EU groups I am a part of, have ever committed or endorsed the cruel attacks committed by the aforementioned group. That is, if that page is indeed telling the truth about his involvement in said attacks. Which I doubt.
The vast majority of us haven’t even seen The Last Jedi or any other D-canon film. I’ve seen it because reviewing movies both good and bad is my job. But I’m a minority. We are fans of The EU. We don’t care what Disney does and we aren’t invested enough to go after an actress who has no creative control over the film. But that’s not the point. The point is that we EU fans know exactly how it feels to be attacked by former friends, family members, coworkers and significant others, all of whom tell us to “Just get over it” or “You just hate strong female characters” or “The EU was never canon”. We have been called every name in the book. We have been called racists, misogynists, homophobes, crybabies, whiny fanboys and things that I won’t repeat here for the sake of remaining polite. So I ask you. Why would we inflict this kind of abuse on others given how much we understand what it feels like?
The page that did this is a sock account for another page that has had it out for us for a couple years now and the admins of that page have accused EU fans of plenty of horrible things while using a separate page to give their arguments some semblance of credibility. They have infiltrated our groups, screenshotted posts so they could post them out of context, lied about us in public and accused us of wrongdoings that we didn’t commit. I have even been a victim of this twice. I had an encounter with a sock account used by the aforementioned admin in a group called The Sith Order. He harassed me, tried to direct message me and when I went to the group I’m in for help, he posted screenshots of my conversations inside the group. And recently a friend who monitors his activity told me that this person was going to try to go after my job. All because my opinions don’t match his.
These are the actions of a lonely, narcissistic and emotionally stunted manchild. They are certainly not indicative of a happy, well-adjusted individual. This is common behavior among those who simply for whatever reason, cannot tolerate an opposing opinion. We see it in everything. From politics and religion, to video games and comics. And sadly, even in Star Wars. These people can’t stand it if someone doesn’t conform to their beliefs. It drives them as mad as a barrel of hornets. They aren’t open to logical arguments. You can’t reason with them. So my advice to EU fans everywhere is to ignore them and block them. Even if you believe in free speech, block them. I'll explain why in a minute.
Free speech is important. As an American, it’s one of my most cherished values. Being able to say what you want when you want is one of the things that makes my country great. But does that mean we have to listen to those whose arguments are unreasonable. As a collective, yes. I think we do need to let them scream their lunacy into the void. But as individuals, it is our right to shut out those whom we deem not worthy of our energy. The people who attacked Kelly didn’t make attacks on anything she herself could control. Kelly isn’t in charge of her character, she doesn’t write the script. She’s given lines to memorize and she performs them onscreen to the best of her ability. Its true that some actors have enough influence to affect change in their characters, but Kelly is not influential enough to accomplish this. She is innocent.
Let’s hop in our mental time machines and travel back to May of 1999 where another young actor had just starred in another Star Wars movie. I am, of course, talking about the controversy surrounding The Phantom Menace and Jake Lloyd. I have an article by AV Club News in front of me where I will tell you a little of what Sean O’Neal has to say about what Jake went through. Quotes from Jake include “My entire life was a living hell” and he was bombarded with “up to 60 interviews a day” and his schoolmates would “make the sound of the lightsaber every time they saw me.” Eventually he couldn’t take it anymore and destroyed his Star Wars memorabilia. As of 2012, when the AV Club News article was written, Jake refused to watch The Phantom Menace and wants nothing to do with the franchise at all/ another clear cut case of bullying that has traumatized a young actor; What happened to both of these actors is tragic, and should be condemned by all sides.
And what that page has done to our movement’s reputation is unforgivable. And worse, it’s illegal. My wife happens to be an attorney. She says that according to her knowledge, the legal definition of libel is “a method of defamation expressed in print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business profession. I say to all of you EU fans out there. If this guy goes after you and it affects to a serious, hit him with a libel suit. You are well within your rights to do so. And I say to you Mr. Admin of The Page That Shall Not Be Mentioned: if you ever come after my job in any capacity, expect to be met with the full force of one of the most prestigious law firms in Connecticut. Now in regards to Kelly, let’s go over the legal definition of harassment, shall we Mr. Anonymous Admin. “Harassment is unwanted, unwelcomed and uninvited that demeans, threatens or offends the victim and results in a hostile environment for the victim.” Sure, laws vary from state to state but that’s the general interpretation of the offense. Kelly, if you’re reading this, know that we didn’t do this to you. We would never do this to you. And we encourage you to stand up for yourself and get justice for what was done to you. We’re EU fans but we don’t hate you as a person. We saw what happened to Jake Lloyd and we’d never wish harassment on anybody else. If you’d like to talk with me about getting justice for the wrongs done to you, message me on Facebook. I’ll put you in touch with my wife who will help you.
I’m going to close things off here but before I do, let me say something to both sides of the Star Wars fandom. I know we don’t see eye to eye on really anything other than the fact that we love Star Wars. But do we have to hate each other? Do we have to let unscrupulous people make us their puppets. No. No we don’t. It’s time to cut the strings and start trying to mend our broken fandom. To D-canon fans I say pick up an EU book and read it. Who knows, you might like it. And to EU fans, I say the same thing with D-canon. Even if we end up hating each other’s canon, we can at least say we tried it and no one can accuse either side of arguing from ignorance. The first step to mending the broken pieces in our fandom is kindness and understanding. Not everybody is going to like the same thing. But it’s important that we try to understand each other’s points of view. After all, Vader had killed Luke’s father from a certain point of view. And from another he was Luke’s father. Finally, I’d like to say to everybody: don’t give into hate. Hate causes nothing but suffering for all those involved as I’m sure Grand Master Skywalker would tell you. Be kind. Lend a helping hand to those with a different point of view than you, and never, ever give up the fight. I’m Ben Ludwig, writing for TheExpandedUniverse.com and let me say to you all:
May The Force Be With You. Always.
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