Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose Tico in the Star Wars franchise, deleted all of her Instagram posts last night as an apparent response to harassment. Her Instagram bio now reads: "Afraid, but doing it anyway."
Tran, one of a select few women of colour to appear in a Star Wars film, was subjected to harassment on the platform. NME points out that her character Rose Tico has been the victim of racist trolling since the movie came out last year. An edit made in December on the Star Wars database Wookieepedia described her as "Ching Chong Wing Tong." Her page has since been edited back to the original description.
Tran's fans on Twitter have connected Tran's absence with an overwhelming amount of criticism for Tran's character, some of which would end up in the comments of her Instagram. While on the platform, Tran maintained a lively presence, frequently sharing on Instagram stories and providing encouragement for her followers in her captions.
The Star Wars fanbase reacted strongly to The Last Jedi, which arrived in cinemas December 2017, and much of the criticism was directed at Rose Tico, Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), and Admiral Holdo (played by Laura Dern). In February, an alt-right group entitled Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys admitted that it had used bots to shrink the movie's Rotten Tomatoes score to a mere 48%. (Critically, The Last Jedi was well-received.)
Responding to the news, the movie's director Rian Johnson wrote on Twitter that "The goal is never to divide or make people upset."
He added, "but I do think the conversations that are happening were going to have to happen at some point if [Star Wars] is going to grow, move forward and stay vital." This controversy added to the growing anxiety that the Star Wars fanbase was hysterical and overwhelmingly bigoted. (See: Rose Tico's Wookieepedia edit.)
Chuck Wendig, a Star Wars author, wrote on Twitter just before Tran deleted her Instagram: "[Kelly] is a force for light and joy and unabashed engagement with the things you love, and to think of the harassment she's received is infuriating." He added minutes later in another Tweet, "And of course now she's deleted her IG page, potentially because of that harassment."
Refinery29 has reached out to representation for Tran for comment.