As privileged as their lives sometimes seem, celebrities face some unique trials on social media that the rest of us do not.
Celebrities simply can't operate social media in the same way that every day people do. No matter how candid or conversational they try to be, their presence will always be viewed as a promotional tool, and their posts will always be related back to their work.
For some famous people, it simply becomes too much to bear. The discourse on their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram degrades to such a level that it is not worth logging on anymore, and they leave social media altogether. Many have been driven away by incessant bullying or even planned, organized harassment by a large group. Whatever the case, more and more celebrities are finding social media to be too hostile to deal with.
Here's a look at some of the most famous people to flee social media.
For the past several years, Ariel Winter has been a huge presence on Instagram. Winter flaunted her fun-loving lifestyle as a successful 20-year-old in Hollywood — documenting parties, festivals and concerts with her friends. She also posted body-positive messages for other young ladies, and often shouted out her friends and loved ones on birthdays.
However, Winter deleted her Twitter account on Friday after a debacle over the copyright on a photo of her. Winter was furious when Instagram removed a photo of herself that she had reposted from a fan. The picture was taken without her knowledge at a gas station. In defiance, she re-posted the image while venting about her privacy on Twitter.
The response was harsh, and Winter apparently found that it was not worth it. Her representatives confirmed that she was taking an indefinite break from the platform in a statement given to Entertainment Tonight.
"Ariel has taken a break from Twitter and engaging with commenters on her other platforms because of the constant negativity she experiences," it said. "She needs a moment to breathe and enjoy herself without [judgment]."prevnext
Shortly after the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, star Daisy Ridley deleted her Instagram to stop the constant barrage of hateful comments. The British actress was already dealing with constant negativity from a vocal contingent of Star Wars fans who disliked the newest installment.
The real final straw for Ridley, however, was the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. Ridley — like most social media users — went online to share her views on the tragedy. She called for a change to American gun laws to prevent these kinds of deaths in the future.
In no time, Ridley's comment section was reduced to squabbling masses. Rather than continue fielding insults, harassment and threats, Ridley left the platform.prevnext
Kelly Marie Tran
This year, another Star Wars star was driven off of social media — Kelly Marie Tran faced an onslaught of harassment after the release of The Last Jedi. Tran played a starring role in the film, which enraged the same small knot of fans that lashed out at Ridley.
In no time, every post Tran made was met with racist, sexist and hateful responses. The harassment may have even been planned and organized on other websites and message boards. Rather than fight an uphill battle, Tran deleted her Instagram account.
Tran's exit was one of the most widely-discussed online, and director Rian Johnson made it perfectly clear how he felt when she was gone.
Done with this disingenuous bullshit. 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.— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 5, 2018
"You know the difference between not liking a movie and hatefully harassing a woman so bad she has to get off social media," he wrote on Twitter. "And you know which of those two we’re talking about here."
Dan Harmon, creator of Community and Rick and Morty, has a well-documented love-hate relationship with social media — particularly Twitter. The writer often lashes out at rude or hateful people online, and he discusses that rage on his podcast, Harmontown. In September, during an interview on the Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast, he elaborated on why he finds it especially frustrating as an avowed nerd.
"I was born the f--ing Internet," he said. "I lost my virginity to a girl I met on the Internet. I wouldn't be a functional member of society if it weren't for the Internet, because it was where I was socialized. So it feels particularly a bummer to me... because I am 'famous,' if I do use the Internet, it has to be one-way. I have to get on Instagram, post a thing, and get off. I can't ever go back and read."
This is not a place for people with self esteem— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) April 26, 2018
For the last several months, Harmon has taken this approach. He posts regularly on Instagram and stays away from Twitter for the most part — a platform where he was once prolific. He logs on every once in a while, offering a few posts with very few responses, and then leaves again, leaving no doubt that he resents the trolls that make social media an unlivable space for himself and others like him.prevnext
Millie Bobby Brown
Just last month, 14-year-old actress Millie Bobby Brown deleted her Twitter account. The Stranger Things star was at the center of a widely circulated homophobic meme, and it was exacerbating harassment that she could no longer tolerate on a day to day basis.
Brown has taken the issue of cyberbullying seriously, even addressing it in her speech at the 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards.
"If you don't have anything nice to say, just don't say it," Brown said in a video played at the award show. "There should be no space in this world for bullying and I'm not going to tolerate it and neither should any of you. If you need a reminder of how worthy you are and to rise above the hate, message me on Instagram."prevnext
Justin Bieber gets no shortage of harsh comments online. To his credit, the singer has gritted his teeth and dealt with most of them. However, in the summer of 2016, he was fed up with fans harassing his then-girlfriend, Sofia Richie.
“I’m gonna make my Instagram private if you guys don’t stop the hate this is getting out of hand, if you guys are really fans you wouldn’t be so mean to people that I like,” he wrote alongside a photo of the couple together. The harassment did not stop, however, and Bieber deleted his Instagram not long after. He was gone for several weeks before he got back on the platform.prevnext
The Walking Dead's Josh McDermitt said goodbye to social media after fans equated the actions of his character, Eugene Porter, with his own personality. Eugene became something of an antagonist on the show's seventh season, but fans went after McDermitt as if he had actually done everything they saw on TV in real life.
McDermitt deleted Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, signing off with a Facebook Live broadcast where he admonished his fans for their senseless abuse.prevnext
After the release of Ghostbusters in 2016, Leslie Jones tried to take a prolonged break from Twitter. The SNL star is an avid user of the platform, but she was faced with such racism and cruelty after the movie came out that she could no longer take it.0comments
"I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart," she wrote at the time. "All this 'cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie, but the s**t I got today... wrong."
In spite of the hate, Jones returned just two days later, promoting the movie and ignoring the comments.prev