Why bullying kids like Millie Bobby Brown is never a good thing
Fourteen year old actress and noted LGBTQ ally Millie Bobby Brown of the Netflix series Stranger Things deleted her Twitter account after fake memes of her being a homophobe and Islamophobe spread.
The sad part of this story is that some members of our community had also spread these memes as a kind of in-joke.
Seriously? This is why we can’t have nice things when we bully kids to show how ironic we are.
The trolling of Millie Bobby Brown
The trouble started in November 2017 when a Twitter user with the name @KelsFiona made the fake accusation against Brown of snatching her hijab at the airport.
While @KelsFiona was suspended on Twitter and the tweet deleted, this sparked the hashtag #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown and led people to come up with fake stories, Snapchats, and memes of their own.
Ironically, this may have started in the stan– a portmanteau name for “super fan”– communities, so some of those spreading the fake memes were her own fans.
This had also happened before to artist Demi Lovato, who had been accused with fake Snapchats of being fatphobic and ableist.
Many Twitter users– many of her owns fans– condemned the fake memes and voiced their support for Brown. But that didn’t stop the actress from deleting her Twitter account last Wednesday.
The irony of bullying Millie Bobby Brown
There’s a certain irony in these attacks on Brown, given that she’s also an advocate against bullying and supports anti-bullying groups and their efforts, like the Being Me campaign.
She has an anti-bullying Twitter side account that is supposed to “share love and positivity.”
As a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights, she was selected for MTV’s gender-neutral awards last year, and she showed her support for advocate groups like GLAAD and the ACLU during the event.
So it would seem strange that some members of the LGBTQ community would consider it fun to target an ally like Brown.
It’s only a joke if we do it
According to websites Motherboard and Vox, some members of the community have been sharing these memes as part of the fun because it’s supposedly ironic.
Sarah Emerson of Vice’s Motherboard wrote, “It’s difficult to say for certain, but the meme may have gained popularity as an LGBTQ in-joke.”
Emerson cited these two tweets as examples, with one even saying that only those from the LGBTQ community can share in these jokes.
i think y’all aren’t getting the point of the millie bobby brown meme?
it was made by the gays as pure satire and mock of people who are actually homophobic
and the entire idea and meme of mbb being homophobic originated from this iconic stan twitter moment.
y’all need 2 calm pic.twitter.com/Wlp49UqS44
— daniel ?¿ (@thelovelesscIub) June 13, 2018
The Millie Bobby Brown memes are to be enjoyed by the gays only
hets don’t interact
— , (@AUTOAMERlCAN) June 11, 2018
Mocking kids and punching down
However, as Alex Abad-Santos of Vox wrote, “That the meme is being remixed and laughed at by LGBTQ people creates a context of reclamation that would be missing if LGBTQ people weren’t the ones having fun with it.”
“But the fact that that fun is coming at the expense of a 14-year-old girl raises questions of whether this type of humor is also a form of bullying,” Abad-Santos added.
More importantly, he pointed out that: “No one believes the Millie Bobby Brown meme to be true. But that doesn’t mean it’s harmless.”
Fortunately, Brown has recently put on a brave face on her Instagram account, with a video that had the caption, “Good vibes only.”
But for the rest of us in the community, we of all people should understand how words can be used to hurt. We don’t want it done to us, so let’s not do it to others– even as a joke.