Being a celebrity — constantly in the limelight — is tough. Fans and haters alike often forget that celebrities are just human, too, and we’ve seen far too many upsetting examples of online commenters heartlessly abusing celebs via their social media profiles. This year, in particular, it’s been particularly egregious – Justin Bieber deleted his account after unrelenting angry and cruel comments from fans about his rumored new girlfriend Sofia Richie dominated his Instagram posts. Ariel Winter is constantly standing up to her online bullies and slut shamers.
Paris Jackson, who is the latest celeb to speak up about her experience with bullies, knows better than most the horrors of online harassing and has long been an outspoken advocate of mental health and anti-bullying.
On September 14th, Paris, the eldest child of late pop music icon Michael Jackson, shared an emotional, completely heart-wrenching video via Instagram, which was later uploaded to YouTube by a Paris Jackson fan account.
In the video, Paris opens up about her struggles with cyberbullying and got incredibly real and candid about her suicide attempt when she was only 14.
She explains that she came back to social media after fans asked her to, but bemoaned the fact that “nothing changed” during that time – the cyber bullies were still there, waiting to hurl hate at her.
The video is incredibly upsetting to watch, but such an important thing to see for anyone who might not believe that online bullying is “real” or anyone who doesn’t understand that “just” abusive internet comments can actually hurt someone. Paris is full of raw emotion, confusion, and heartbreak as she wonders “how there can be so much hatred in the world right now” and “why [she’s] such an easy target” for online bullies.
At the heart of it, Paris was just trying to understand what it is about her that is causing the online abuse.
It’s completely crushing to hear Paris wonder if it’s her own fault that she is on the receiving end of so much online abuse. It goes without saying that no one is deserving of that kind of cruel and inhuman treatment, no matter if they’re a public figure, a non-celebrity, whether they share 200 posts a day or one every two months.
Paris also brought up the Justin Bieber Instagram situation and her own connection to Justin’s rumored girlfriend (and the subject of much online vitriol) in her video. “I have known [Justin’s] girlfriend Sofia [Richie] since I was 12 or 13,” Paris said. “She’s one of the sweetest girls in the world and people are telling her to kill herself.”
The video ended with Paris telling viewers that celebrities are human beings, too, and trying to get them to understand that online abuse cuts deep, whether the victim is famous or not.
The same day, Paris shared an Instagram photo, with a caption addressing the fact that she defended herself from haters and that apparently it backfired on her.
“[L]ooks like i’m the villain now. didn’t know defending myself was a crime. my dearest apologies. guess my careers over lolol,” Paris captioned the shot of herself modeling in a bathtub, her gorgeous tattoos on full display.
It’s unclear what specifically led Paris to make this video now, but we hope that she’s safe and taking the time for self-care. Paris is a beautiful person inside and out, and we’re all rooting for her.