At its best, Twitter can be an incredible breaking news alert and a tool for celebrities looking to directly interact with fans, but too often it’s appropriated into a platform for hate — from presidential bullying to alt-right trolling to downright harassment.
After becoming the subject of a disgusting homophobic meme, Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown — who, mind you is 14 years old — deactivated her Twitter account. While this sounds like a headline from The Onion, it’s sadly very real.
The meme consisted of homophobic rhetoric and slurs photoshopped onto photos of the Stranger Things actress, as well as (clearly) fake stories about her being homophobic in real life, most featuring the hashtag #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown. According to Yahoo, the gross hashtag first began circulating last year, gaining more traction recently to coincide with Pride Month, which is supposed to be a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community, not use a 14-year old girl to tear the movement down.
Additionally, the memes also falsely portray Brown as Islamophobic, ableist, and a number of awful and offensive things.
Yahoo reports that the meme started out as a joke (though how a homophobic meme can be considered a JOKE escapes us) before spinning wildly out of control with hate. The fact that people consider this okay or even funny is straight-up gross.
Before the meme forced her off Twitter, Brown was just another social media-addicted 14-year-old. Again, Brown is still very much a child and the fact that her status as a celebrity prompted trolls to think it was okay to use her likeness for a homophobic meme — joke or otherwise — is disgusting. Fortunately, a number of users have come to her defense, calling out the gross behavior.
Not only does this misrepresent Brown as a person — and supporter of the LGBTQ community — it’s also harassment. While Brown may no longer be on Twitter, the actress’s Instagram account currently remains active. The fact that Brown had to endure this harassment at all is unacceptable and we think Twitter needs to take a good, hard look at what it deems appropriate in the future.