Cast Of Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’ Intervenes On New Cast Member’s Behalf After Online Trolls Get Out Of Control
Grace Saif deleted her Instagram after “13 Reasons Why” fans bullied her relentlessly. Fans of the show didn’t like the new character Ani, who is played by Saif, and misplaced that hatred by harassing her on social media. Saif’s bullying comes in the wake of aggressive “stan culture,” particularly aimed at women and women of color.
When misogyny and anti-blackness mixes, we call that misogynoir and many felt Saif has become victim to it. While there is a lot to say about fans who cannot separate the actress from her character, it is much easier for fans to characterize a black woman as unlikeable.
Why don’t “13 Reasons Why” fans like Grace Saif? [*Spoilers Ahead*]
Season 3 introduced viewers to Saif’s Ani Achola, who is a new student at Liberty High School and the omniscient narrator. Fans did not find Ani’s character convincing but this was largely due to plot holes. Viewers didn’t understand how a new girl at school knew so much about students at Liberty, and they weren’t sold on her storyline regarding Bryce’s death.
Rather than crediting the writers for a lackluster season, they targeted Saif on social media and accused her of ruining the show.
Grace deletes Instagram and makes Twitter private.
The online abuse became so difficult she decided to cut off the source. While we won’t be sharing many of the harassing Tweets and comments on social media because why share that hatred, they so ubiquitous you’ve probably already seen a few in your feed.
There’s a long history of harassing women actresses on social media.
Daisy Ridley who plays Rey in the latest Star Wars reboot deleted all her accounts and said she would never return to social media due to misogynist bullying in 2017. Meanwhile, her Star Wars co-star Kelly Marie Tran faced a similar fate after experiencing anti-Asian and misogynist bullying in 2018.
Women who are a part of a series with a rabid fanbase tend to be larger targets of bullying and if they are women of color or queer it is so much worse. In July, Candice Patton who portrays Iris West on The Flash experienced so much racist bullying by fans who can’t deal with Barry Allen having a black wife, her co-star Grant Gustin had to step in to shut things down.
But the rest of us aren’t putting up with bullying.
Saif’s co-star Timothy Granaderos Jr., who plays Monty de la Cruz, spoke out against the ongoing harassment and encouraged fans to chill out.
“Hey Y’all, just a reminder. Whether or not you support, like, or love, a character in our fictional tv show—please remember that there is a talented and beautiful actor/actress bringing those scripted words to life,” Granaderos Jr. wrote on Instagram. “One of the underlining themes in our show is to take care of each other. I’ve seen some pretty nasty things being said online, concerning the introduction of a new character. Y’all are passionate & we love you for that, but PLEASE PLEASE try to be kind and respect the work of the talented actress/actor behind the character. Love y’all & keep taking care of each other.”
Anne Winters who plays Chloe Rice told People the backlash against Ani was unwarranted. “Ani is amazing, Grace who plays Ani is like the sweetest girl ever. I really loved her character this season,” she said.
Fans on social media showed support for Grace Saif.
“I stand with grace saif. so now people’s reason for abusing another BW is for being so bomb at her job she convincingly plays a multi-layered, complex character? we cannot win. you haters can duck out. grace keep shining we got you boo,” tweeted @JazleeJones.
Oh, the irony…
“I wasn’t really rocking w Ani in #13ReasonsWhy but I find it cruel how y’all bullied this woman until she deleted all her accounts! It’s just a show guys. Hell yeah her character was annoying but y’all forget that this shit isn’t real @gracesaif I hope you’re doing fine,” one fan wrote.
And this whole thing is ironic because the series “13 Reasons Why” aims to address difficult issues including bullying.
Many felt that fans missed the entire point of the series by harassing Saif.
“The irony here… it stinks. First you 13RW fans fight against bullying. Now you (not everyone) are bullying an actress who played someone you didn’t like. I’ve seen Ani and most of all Grace Saif receive more hate than Bryce and Justin Prentice. You guys are disgusting,” another fan pointed out.
However, the Netflix show, whose main demographic is teens, has come under fire multiple times, for glamourizing behaviors on the show like suicide and sexual assault rather than examining or condemning them, by psychologists and mental health experts.
Whether the show is good or not has nothing to do with Grace Saif. Stop the misogynoir!