Ahmed Best, best known as the voice of Jar Jar Binks, opened up recently about how he’d contemplated suicide following his stint on Star Wars. The outpouring of support was overwhelming.
There is no character more reviled in the Star Wars universe than Jar Jar Binks. But behind every character is someone very, very real, and the near constant vitriol proved to be emotionally devastating to Best. So much so, in fact, that he even considered committing suicide.
20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival. Would this be a good story for my solo show? Lemme know. pic.twitter.com/NvVnImoJ7N
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) July 3, 2018
Just weeks after actress Kelly Marie Tran was forced from social media following death threats and other abusive comments, Best’s admission that he’d similarly struggled had fans of the Galaxy far, far away reaching out and thanking him for his honesty. Among them was The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who sent his love to the actor.
Lots of love to you Ahmed. I think there are many of us who’d get quite alot from hearing your story.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) July 3, 2018
Other tweets in response to Best expressed admiration for his courage in speaking up, particularly with the stigma still attached to mental health, as well as the current perception of the fandom in the media.
Nothing but appreciation and admiration for your strength and honesty in this post, Ahmed. You are powerful proof that no role or single moment can define you. We are works in progress always and we never know what’s around the corner if we just keep on fighting. #respect 👊🏽
— John Steven Rocha (@TheRochaSays) July 4, 2018
I worked with you only one day, and your boundless enthusiasm was a gift I am glad I got to share in.
— (((Neil Kaplan))) (@NeKap) July 4, 2018
You were my favorite character and as a huge Star Wars fan, who also struggle with mental health, I am disgusted and disheartened by those other “fans”. You brought joy to me and my siblings through Jar-Jar. It was the only thing we connected thru. Thank you for those memories
— Rebekah Dennison (@red_wonder89) July 4, 2018
Thank you for doing an amazing job to bring a character to life. Your work has influenced so many. You should be proud, even though sometimes the world won’t let you be.
— Michael Gamble (@GambleMike) July 4, 2018
I LOVED Jar Jar Binks. I know I’ll get raked over the coals for saying that but I just will never understand the harshness of people’s dislike of him. I do character work. He is a GREAT character! Okay. Go ahead. Shoot. Gimme all ya got—but you’ll never make me change my mind. https://t.co/RHhhXUlU5C
— Frank Oz (@TheFrankOzJam) July 4, 2018
Love you, bro. https://t.co/PWMNvYQ7Dv
— J Lee (@jleefilm) July 4, 2018
— Anthony Sparks (@SparksAnthony) July 4, 2018
Best opened up to Wired last year about the response he’d received to Jar Jar. “I had death threats through the internet,” Best said. “I had people come to me and say, ‘You destroyed my childhood.’ That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.”
Best and Tran are not the only ones to have suffered at the hands of alleged fans of Star Wars. Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, also deleted all of her social media accounts in 2016.
Speaking to Glamour, Ridley said, “I posted a thing about gun regulations, because I was at an event in tribute to the Orlando shooting at Pulse. People weren’t nice about how I looked. And I was like, ‘I’m out.’ Simple as that. That is not what I signed up for.”
Best plans to write and perform a one-man show, coinciding with the anniversary of The Phantom Menace. With the showing of support from fans, Best appears more ready than ever to complete the project.
Thank you all for your love and kindness. Its been overwhelming. I’m gonna start writing this show. Gonna need help cause I’ve never done this before. I will be trying stuff out and posting it here. Let folks know. Thanks for all your support. It means so very much to me.
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) July 4, 2018