The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has stated that Gamergate is “the key to understanding so many violent harassment campaigns,” adding that similarly vitriolic movements that have since sprouted up online are “lots of the same people angry about the same stuff using the same playbook.” The Star Wars filmmaker, who was on the receiving end of huge amounts of fan backlash over his entry in the sci-fi saga, has been an outspoken presence on Twitter regarding the incredibly divisive reaction to The Last Jedi and its cast/creators.
Johnson stated that he was “amazed how few people know about Gamergate” in an exchange on Twitter, replying to an article regarding Comicsgate, an anti-diversity campaign launched by comic book fans:
I’m always amazed how few people know about Gamergate. It’s not only the key to understanding so many violent harassment campaigns going on today, it’s lots of the same people angry about the same stuff using the same playbook.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) July 9, 2018
In another reply, Rian Johnson elaborated on his shock that few people know the roots of Gamergate. “I’m always surprised by the blank looks I get when it comes up,” the director tweeted. “I think it was covered heavily but in a very niche corner of the media.”
Last month, Johnson spoke up against the online harassment of Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose in The Last Jedi. In a response to someone defending those who were “showing dislike” to Tran’s performance in the film, Johnson replied: “Done with this disingenuous bulls***. You know the difference between not liking a movie and hatefully harassing a woman so bad she has to get off social media. And you know which of those two we’re talking about here.”
The Last Jedi was praised by critics, though decisions made by Johnson in regards to Luke Skywalker’s story arc were condemned by a certain sect of the film’s audience. The backlash escalated to the point where a particularly overzealous group of fans started fund-raising $200 million in order to direct a remake of the film and “save Star Wars.” In response to this, Johnson tweeted: “please please please please pleeeeeeeaaaase please actually happen please please please please please.”