The Internet Rallying to Defend a Fan’s Tearful Reaction to The Rise of Skywalker Is What Fandom Is All About
"That's how we're going to win. Not by fighting what we hate. By saving what we love."
Star Wars Celebration was a, well, celebration of fan culture. There were no reports of evil debates or terrible fanboys. Actors who’d been bullied on social media, like Kelly Marie Tran and Ahmed Best, both got standing ovations and the crowds chanting their names. It was a moment of love, not hate, and isn’t that what Star Wars is all about?
Online, the love continued as the Star Wars fandom and other geeks rallied to the defense of Eric Butts, a YouTuber whose emotional response to the teaser for The Rise of Skywalker went viral.
Yes, you who cries over a Star Wars trailer. Who wishes the Avengers were real. Who stays up late reading comic books.
You’re great & when someone tries to make you feel less than that, remember there’s a community of geeks who are with you. Keep doing your thing. https://t.co/kaEQcUimxP
— New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) April 16, 2019
Butts uploaded a ten-minute reaction video to the teaser trailer in which he gets visibly emotional. Conservatives on internet posted an excerpt of it and said that Butts had deleted his work, and the next day, conservative influencer Ashley St. Clair posted the video to her Twitter to mock Butts and call men like him “undateable.”
Star Wars and super hero movie obsession culture has revealed a whole new population of undateable men. Might be worse than men who wear cargo shorts.
— Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) April 14, 2019
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. The Internet saw the reaction to Butts’s original video and took a stand with him, saying that having an emotional reaction wasn’t uncool or a sign of weakness, but rather a joyful expression of love for the franchise and being a nerd.
This is just a video of a human being liking a thing and being moved by it.
Ashley is afraid of someone making fun of her for a vulnerability, maybe because when she was young and things were important to her, she was mocked for it — which is why she attacks this random dude. https://t.co/G2YYtY4wzs
— Heather Anne Campbell (@heathercampbell) April 16, 2019
As fans flocked to Butts’s defense, another took a stand with them: Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight.
Why anyone would ridicule someone so passionate & clearly enjoying what he’s seeing is beyond me. #UPFsAreTheBestFans 👍
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 15, 2019
Hi Eric- Thanks for sharing your amazing reaction to the trailer. It was inspiring to see you transported with joy in anticipation of IX. Makes what we do seem all the more worthwhile.
All the best, Mar🐫
PS: I salute you, sir: pic.twitter.com/7xOEVm3iju
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 16, 2019
The writer of Rogue One also chimed in with support.
I remember vividly when @TheEricButts posted his Rogue One trailer reaction videos. Seeing his utter joy remains one of my favorite memories from being involved with that movie. The passion of fans like Eric IS EXACTLY WHY WE MAKE MOVIES. Haters can fuck off and die. #ILoveButts
— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) April 16, 2019
It hurts that a guy was so mocked for expressing an emotional response to something, but it’s heartening to see such a response in his defense. Men shouldn’t feel like being openly emotional will lead to mockery; this is how we get a culture of toxic masculinity. Similarly, geek culture is so mainstream now that we shouldn’t be mocking people for being excited over franchise properties that rake in all of the money and have conventions dedicated to their existence.
Still, it’s nice to see the power of Celebration continue online even after the con is over. These are the stories we should see, rather than the negativity. Hopefully, The Rise of Skywalker, whatever that means, will also see a rise in positivity in fandom after a controversial stretch of time. The Force is strong with this community, and I hope that this guy has a good day knowing that the power of fandom is on his side.
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