Kathleen Kennedy Is Aware That Women in STAR WARS Are Attacked More Online Because the Fanbase Is Male Dominated — GeekTyrant

In a new interview with The New York Times (via Variety) for the upcoming Star Wars series The Acolyte, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said she is aware that women in the space franchise are often attacked online more than men “because of the fan base being so male dominated.”

Female stars Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran certainly faced online harassment from toxic fans when the most recent Star Wars film trilogy was released, and now The Acolyte is already being attacked in certain corners of the fandom.

The Acolyte is an original story created by Leslye Headland that’s set long before the events of The Phantom Menace. Headland, known for directing films such as Sleeping With Other People and co-creating Netflix’s hit comedy series Russian Doll, is the first woman to serve as showrunner of a Star Wars series. Her show includes major new female Star Wars characters played by Amandla Stenberg, Carrie Ann-Moss, Jodie Turner-Smith and more.

As reported by The Times: “A loud, primordial part of the Star Wars fandom has pushed back in predictable fashion [against the show]. ‘Why are there so many women, girls and minority characters increasingly dominating the ranks of Jedi?’ reads a comment on The Acolyte trailer, with others expressing a similar worldview…Some trolls have nicknamed Headland’s series ‘The Wokelyte.’”

Kennedy told the publication about her support for Headland’s Acolyte vision:

“My belief is that storytelling does need to be representative of all people. That’s an easy decision for me. Operating within these giant franchises now, with social media and the level of expectation — it’s terrifying. I think Leslye has struggled a little bit with it. I think a lot of the women who step into ‘Star Wars’ struggle with this a bit more. Because of the fan base being so male dominated, they sometimes get attacked in ways that can be quite personal.”

Headland has already started to limit her exposure to online chatter about the show to block out any of the toxic fans, and the show hasn’t even debuted on Disney+ yet. She explained:

“As a fan myself, I know how frustrating some ‘Star Wars’ storytelling in the past has been. I’ve felt it myself. I stand by my empathy for ‘Star Wars’ fans. But I want to be clear. Anyone who engages in bigotry, racism or hate speech … I don’t consider a fan.”

The Acolyte premieres on June 4th on Disney+.

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