Kelly Marie Tran, the first woman of color to hold a major onscreen role in the Star Wars franchise, has deleted all of her Instagram posts after months of racist and sexist harassment from Star Wars fans.
Tran, who played resistance mechanic Rose in 2017’s The Last Jedi, ran a relentlessly positive and uplifting Instagram, one so endearing that BuzzFeed ran an article titled “We Must Protect Kelly Marie Tran And Her Instagram Account At All Costs” before The Last Jedi even came out. She posted pictures of herself squirming awkwardly on the red carpet, captioned, “This is how you’re supposed to pose for photos, right? #NailedIt,” and photos of herself glammed up for a magazine side by side with pictures of her in sweats with no makeup.
“Guys, can I tell you a secret?” she wrote on one post. “I avoided social media for a long time purely because I was afraid. I was terrified of being picked apart, of being scrutinized, of being seen.” But, she concluded at the end of the post, “I’m an incomplete, imperfect, broken mess, and I’m here to say that it’s OKAY to be imperfect.”
Although Tran’s Instagram account remains, all of her old posts have now been deleted. And a Twitter account called Star Wars Facts is saying that it’s because of the “months of harassment” she has experienced at the hands of Star Wars fans.
One fan-run Twitter account does not a solid source make, so we can’t say for sure that Tran really did delete her Instagram posts because of harassment. But we do know there’s been some pretty vicious racism directed at both Tran’s character Rose and at Tran herself.
As the Huffington Post reports, last December, Rose’s entry on the Star Wars wiki “Wookieepedia” was vandalized with racist and ableist slurs, so that the character description read as follows:
Ching Chong Wing Tong is a dumbass fucking character Disney made and is a stupid, retarded, and autistic love interest for Finn. She better die in the coma because she is a dumbass bitch.
And a birthday post for Tran on Instagram was filled with angry comments from fans who didn’t like her character, including a racist comment calling her “Ching Chong.”
After Star Wars Facts made its report, some Twitter accounts began to celebrate what they apparently saw as a victory.
In an interview on the Last Jedi press tour last December, Tran said that she took her responsibility as Star Wars’ first lead actress of color seriously.
“I wish I didn’t have to answer this question, I wish we lived in a world where every different person has the chance to write, direct, produce, and star in movies but that’s just not true,” she said. “I can say that I’m excited to be part of the change, it feels like a responsibility but it’s awesome as I get to be in this movie and be this character, but it’s horrifying because it’s so rare … I do feel a sort of … I don’t take representation lightly, and I am excited to be part of the change.”