Actress Anna Diop has disabled the comments on Instagram because comic book fans harassed her following the announcement of her casting in Titans as superhero Starfire.
Diop, who was born in Senegal but raised in the United States, is set to star in gritty live-action series headed to the upcoming DC Universe digital subscription service. However, her character, a alien hero, is orange — not black — and after getting a first look at the show during San Diego’s Comic-Con last week, her account has been plagued by racist comments. In response, she’s now disabled all comments on her account, except for a single post that announces her participation in Jordan Peele’s upcoming Us (featuring more than its fair share of ugly remarks).
— teen titans (@badpostitans) April 11, 2018
When early set photos of Diop in character were first published in April (see above), she was bombarded with intolerant online missives, which in turn compelled her to respond with a lengthy (and since-deleted) Instagram post, in which she wrote:
To the ‘Titans’ fans:
Yesterday a photo of me on set leaked online. And it was unfortunate because fans have been waiting MONTHS for a photo of ‘Starfire’ and a sloppy photo of me on a curb in 15 degree weather is what they got instead. For the sake of our incredible fans – I hated that this is the first picture people are seeing. It’s out of context and it’s a misrepresentation of the incredible character I get to play. And also a misrepresentation of the phenomenal production behind it all.
With that said – the hate speech that followed was deplorable. And though I am highly unbothered. I do want to use this as an opportunity to say that tearing people down is not something that I tolerate. For myself or anyone else. Too often social media is abused by some who find refuge in the anonymity and detachment it provides: misused as a tool to harass, abuse, and spew hatred at others. This is weak, sad, and a direct reflection of the abuser.
Racist, derogatory, and/or cruel comments have nothing to do with the person on the receiving end of that abuse. And because I know this – I’m unfazed. But for anyone out there who may not – I am here to remind you that whatever ugly and negative thing anyone ever chooses to say about you is always a reflection and revelation of themselves- it does NOT define you, and it certainly does NOT make you any less perfect than you are – Be you! Stay beautiful! Live breezy. As always,
On Thursday, Diop’s Titans co-star Minka Kelly stood up for her with a lengthy statement of support.
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge how proud and excited I am to be working alongside @The_AnnaDiop. In my humble opinion, @DCUTitans, @theDCuniverse and all of their fans are lucky to have her talent, her grace and her beauty on board. While the abhorrent racism in this country seems to be going nowhere anytime soon (#NiaWilson), the dignity, strength and couth my friend continues to exemplify in the face of it humbles and inspires me. That so many racist cowards would take the time to attack her instagram so that she has to shut off comments after having already shut down her entire account once before over this bullshit makes me feel rage. Though I also feel a small relief knowing how strong and thick-skinned Anna is. I know she is and will be ok. It takes zero courage to sit in your dark lonely room spewing your venom online while protected by your anonymous faceless accounts. I cannot begin to fathom the courage it requires everyday just to exist as a black woman in this country (#ChikesiaClemons) let alone to also have the audacity to fight for and follow your dreams. I bow to you, Anna. I can’t wait for everyone to see the brilliant work you’ve done. Shine on, my love. You are a queen and all the people who matter know it. #IStandWithAnnaDiop 👑✨
A post shared by Minka Kelly (@minkakelly) on Jul 26, 2018 at 7:22am PDT
“That so many racist cowards would take the time to attack her instagram so that she has to shut off comments after having already shut down her entire account once before over this bullshit makes me feel rage,” Kelly wrote in part. “Though I also feel a small relief knowing how strong and thick-skinned Anna is. I know she is and will be ok.”
This isn’t the first time such bigoted vitriol has driven stars off social media; just last month, Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Kelly Marie Tran quit all her online platforms after trolls went after her. This motivated co-star Mark Hamill, writer/director Rian Johnson, and more to come to her defense.
Diop’s situation is yet another example of the toxic fandom that’s been spreading during the past few years, especially in the genre-movie realm — and further indication that some fans have yet to get with the 21st-century picture.
Starring Teagan Croft as Raven, Ryan Potter as Beast Boy, Alan Ritchson as Hawk, Minka Kelly as Dove, Lindsey Gort as Amy Rohrbach, and Diop as Starfire, Titans is currently set to debut in fall 2018.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published on July 25, 2018.
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