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Loki Director Kate Herron Has a Great Response to a Gross Misogynistic Troll

An image of Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Loki TV show director Kate Herron

Loki director Kate Herron has had to deal with a lot of mixed reactions to the Disney+ show online, and she has taken them wonderfully in stride. As a woman on the Internet, however, the tenor of comments is often tinged with a particular brand of disgusting misogyny. Mix in the fact that Herron is a powerful, openly queer woman helming a popular Marvel superhero property, and I cannot begin to even imagine the gross vitriol that she’s received.

Herron recently gave a masterclass in how to respond to trolls like this, as CBR notes. She screengrabbed a reply to her on Twitter, in which a user with a Ludwig von Beethoven avatar had written “Thanks for ruining Loki you fat skank.” Herron obscured the troll’s username, attached the image to a tweet of her own, and wrote: “Hot, fat and available to tank your major franchises.”

The general advice is not to “feed” the trolls. But ignoring them on their abusive tears, especially when those comments are aimed at high-profile women, also gives people the sense that they can get away with saying anything. In highlighting this comment, Herron is showing the world the tiniest fraction of the subhuman hostility she receives, then turning it around and wryly owning words and ideas that were intended to attack her.

As excellent as Herron’s demonstration of strength and sense of self is here, she should not have to deal with commentary like this. No one should. It speaks volumes about how we interact online now that not only do trolls and self-entitled fans think they can aim insults directly at creators without repercussions, but the abuse directed at women remains specific.

Abuse aimed at women has always been specific and all-too-predictable in nature. Herron’s appearance is targeted, in addition to “skank,” a word charged with derogatory usage against women that implies sexual promiscuity, filth, and immorality. It’s hard for me to imagine that had this Beethoven-loving fan gone after, say, Loki head writer Michael Waldron, they would have used words about Waldron’s body or insults about sexual activity.

I think this is exemplified by one of the top responses to Herron’s tweet, from Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad director James Gunn, who knows a thing or two about being the target of online hate. Even Gunn seems stunned by the reply Herron received.

In their article on Herron’s tweet, CBR writes of Loki’s general reception:

The Disney+ series received overall positive acclaim from critics and audiences, and a second season has already been announced. Some viewers did denounce the show’s slower pace and the season finale’s verbosity.

It’s worth pointing out here that all of the elements “denounced” by some viewers are on the writing side of things, not direction. Herron makes the scripts she’s given come to life—and it’s difficult to argue that her direction wasn’t impeccable. While we can’t know what element of the show infuriated this particular troll, I’m not sure how Herron’s direction could be at fault for any of it.

Loki looked gorgeous in every environment down to the last detail, and even people upset about “verbosity” cannot fault the actors’ performances, which were exceptional across the board. The finale that seems to have some folks up in arms was written by two men, Michael Waldron and Eric Martin. It’s unlikely they’ve seen the same kind of hate that Herron received for “ruining” Loki—and that any negative reactions were so personal in nature. But no one should be receiving harassment online for their part in a creative endeavor, period.

We’re all allowed to express criticism of things we didn’t like—there are things that bothered me about Loki, and I intend to write about them! But turning our feelings about a property or a character into ad hominem attacks on creators, in their own feeds and personal spaces, does nothing constructive. It’s often the reason why actors, screenwriters, authors, and directors step back from social media entirely.

Back when I was a teenager in fandom, we never could have conceived of the creators being a click away and interacting with our ideas. The concept of firing off an insult at them because I was upset would have been mind-boggling and frankly absurd. But these days it’s a privilege that is readily abused, rather than appreciated as a development that brings us all closer together.

As for Herron, it’s already been announced that she won’t return for Loki’s second season, which I think is a huge loss for the series. Herron pushed for the inclusion of important elements in the show like confirmation of Loki’s bisexuality, and helmed stunning episodes of a massive MCU production during a global pandemic. We should be so lucky to have Kate Herron take on any of our franchises.

Our Rachel Leishman put it best:

(via CBR, image: Marvel Studios & Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer / Getty Images)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.