In a Stunning Turn of Events, Another Female Star Wars Creator Is Asking Fans to Stop Harassing Her
The evidence that underrepresented voices in fandom receive disproportionate levels of online harassment continues to grow.
To many, Krystina Arielle is not a familiar name (yet). This will soon change, thanks to the launch of the Star Wars: The High Republic Show on YouTube later this month.
Lucasfilm announced the project during the official launch of The High Republic publishing initiative, which featured Arielle introducing herself and the show to the fandom.
The show will give Star Wars fans a behind-the-scenes look at what went into making this initiative come together. It’s a spotlight on the creators behind the magic — which makes Arielle the perfect host, being a creator herself.
The actress is also a cosplayer (and judging by her Captain Marvel look alone, obviously an amazing one) and D&D enthusiast. Who better to host a show made for nerds than one of their own?
Arielle’s enthusiasm for the show and Star Wars as a whole drew curious fans in immediately.
Which — surprise! — also attracted the trolls.
She clarifies in the replies to the above tweet that fans are calling her the “n word.” Not that we need more evidence that racism and bigotry are alive and well in 2021, but … here you go.
…Why are people?
Unfortunately, this is not the first time — and will not be the last, either — creators who aren’t cisgender heterosexual white men are harassed online (and off) simply for doing their jobs.
It happens to Kathleen Kennedy every single day. Even though she has an executive role to play in all things Star Wars, she has been knee-deep in the process of making movies for decades. And she’s good at it. That doesn’t matter to people personally offended that a woman is in charge of the future of their favorite space opera. (Sorry not sorry.)
Also, Kelly Marie Tran. Do we even have to rehash this? Fans bullied her off social media and cheered when her character only got less than two full minutes of screen time in The Rise of Skywalker. Because she played a character they ddin’t like? Because she’s Asian? Because she’s a confident, talented woman? All of the above?
And ask any Star Wars author what it’s really like interacting with fans online. Often times, it’s great! Many times, people swarm their book pages with negative reviews before release day just because they can.
I’m not saying men don’t get hate. Star Wars fans are notoriously … loud and opinionated, to put it gently? But they do tend to receive less severe outpourings of poisonous wrath than the underrepresented voices just trying to make Star Wars things (and have a blast while doing it).
No one who signs up to do any work related to Star Wars asks for the mistreatment that certain parts of the fandom seem to have deemed acceptable … as long as it’s not directed at them, of course.
And yet … it happens. Again and again, seemingly with zero consequences for the harassers.
Often times, the best we can do is use the only tools Twitter provides us to protect our livelihoods and our sanity: mute and block buttons, plus a reporting feature that may or may not produce the desired results (those being something along the lines of please don’t let other women have to deal with this troll).
It’s sad that creators can’t be excited about their work without attracting the worst kind of hate imaginable. Some fans just want to make things and celebrate the stories and characters they love without having to worry about getting death threats, you know?
At the moment, there’s not much more we can do than support each other and continue to expose the sins of the trolls without giving them the direct attention they’re so desperately craving.
Krystina Arielle deserves better. Many of you out there can do better, though I’m aware you probably aren’t reading this if that’s the case.
I personally can’t wait for all this new show has to offer the fandom, especially with Arielle hosting. Here’s hoping she can have an overall positive and enjoyable experience as part of the Star Wars family despite the hate.
Star Wars: The High Republic Show premieres on January 27 on StarWars.com and the Star Wars YouTube channel.