Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard has spoken out over the harassment he’s faced on Twitter and Instagram in recent days mike stranger things, saying that he doesn’t want to spurn any fans but that he won’t stand by while people harass him and his friends.
Wolfhard, who plays Mike Wheeler on the Netflix hit and also appeared in this year’s It, has been dealing with attacks from displeased fans on Twitter in the last few days. The comments stemmed from a video that called out Wolfhard for not stopping to take a picture with a fan while walking from a car into a hotel. The person who tweeted the initial attack recently made his account private, but the footage can be seen in the YouTube video below.
The initial response to the tweet condemned Wolfhard as well as the fan, but once the tweet started to spread across the platform, the reaction overwhelmingly leaned toward criticizing the fan’s treatment of the actor.
The harassment Wolfhard faced didn’t stop there, though. On Oct. 30, model Ali Michael, who is 27, posted an Instagram story featuring Wolfhard’s face, telling the 14-year-old actor to him to “hit me up” once he turned 18.
Reaction to the Instagram video fluctuated between attaboys for Wolfhard from some people and condemnation from others. Many people pointed out that if the roles were reversed — if Wolfhard were a 27-year-old actor posting a similar message toward a 14-year-old girl — it would be downright creepy.
A fundamental flaw of social media is a lack of awareness over how humans treat the freedom to interact when given a democratic platform to voice their opinions.
Harassment on social media isn’t situational; it’s everywhere. It can happen to anyone, but there are certain people who are at risk of being attacked more often; women, people of color and queer folk will be the first to tell you this. If you’re a high-profile Twitter user, like a celebrity or public figure, the chances of someone taking a swing at you online are far greater. When every moment of your life is tracked, both in real life and through social media, harassment isn’t just likely; it’s inevitable.
Harassment of this nature affects almost every celebrity — just take a glance at Chrissy Teigen’s Twitter account every once in a while. This case is far more severe because children are being targeted. The teenage cast of Stranger Things is still learning how to navigate celebrity, maintain online personas and act as public figures who have fans waiting outside their hotels for a photo op.
That’s the important thing to remember: Harassment on social media isn’t new, but it’s immediately more alarming when kids are involved.