What does the internet actually want from Ezra Miller? | Panda Anku

SSocial media is one big pinball machine, all of us, flipping wildly between anger, compassion, and ridicule. There are now plenty of clues ready to explain why we are wrong at every point. Case in point: Ezra Miller. The ailing actor, who has been the focus of a Venn diagram of all online discussions lately, has finally sought treatment for “complex mental health issues” after months of arrests, bad headlines and the fate of his $200m blockbuster The Lightning on the game. Battle lines have already been drawn and opinions claim to be final. But should they be?

“I would like to apologize to everyone that I have been alarmed and upset with my past behavior,” Miller said in a statement last night (Aug. 15). “I am committed to doing the work necessary to get me back to a healthy, safe and productive phase in my life.”

Miller’s recent run-ins with the law — a Vermont burglary charge; Arrests for disorderly conduct, harassment, and second-degree assault in Hawaii — have made her (Miller is non-binary and uses she/them pronouns) a polarizing pop-culture figure. So is her relationship with an 18-year-old Native American activist named Tokata Iron Eyes, whose parents have accused Miller of manipulating their child through “violence, intimidation, threats of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions and drugs” and sought protection have order against Miller as a result. However, Tokata Iron Eyes herself has denied that her parents’ claims are true.

A ruthlessly unambitious stance on all issues has long been expected of every participant in online discourse. However, Miller’s story is more difficult to interpret than most. Anyone with eyes can see that Miller has been in a crisis for a while and it’s good that they’re seeking help (Warner Bros – the makers of their upcoming DC Comics film The Lightning — reportedly support Miller’s decision). But the rumor mill surrounding her, from Tokata Iron Eyes to lengthy allegations of gun ownership, assault and Miller running a cult-like corporate circle of artists and other non-binary youth, has made her a much more difficult figure to talk about can speak.

This deep uneasiness was compounded by the hyperactive whims of the internet. Depending on which Twitter corner you’re in, Miller is either a giggling cartoon villain on an international crime spree, a downright badass, or a reflection of everything wrong with Hollywood. None of them allow for great complexity. The jokes stem from the sheer regularity and geographic spread of Miller’s legal troubles, as if they’d settled into a one-person live-action version of Where on earth is Carmen Sandiago? But laughing at Miller’s recent woes – however guilty – also means overlooking the very serious allegations made against Miller, including assault and grooming. Few of these, I should say, have been clarified or responded to by Miller or her representatives.

A “hypocritical Hollywood” angle is fueled by fandoms that tie Miller to largely unrelated issues. Or imaginary. So you outraged Johnny Depp fans that Warner Bros dumped Depp Fantastic Beasts however, Miller retained in that franchise and as The Flash. Amber Heard fans who think the relatively low level of vitriol aimed at Miller is cruelly disproportionate to the vitriol aimed at her. bat girl Fans were upset that Warner Bros recently canceled this film — especially when it comes to a rare superhero movie helmed by a Latina actor — instead The Lightning. Will Smith fans are upset that Smith appears to have received far more backlash from the industry for beating Chris Rock at the Oscars than whatever happens or doesn’t happen to Miller. The result is a multi-layered accumulation of artificial, overarching connections. No clear result that is desired. Not a result that will please everyone.

Miller’s booking photo after her April arrest for second-degree assault in Hawaii

(Hawaii Police Department/Getty)

This wouldn’t be a huge issue if we didn’t also expect Warner Bros to take a definitive stance on Miller itself. But – and I apologize in advance for speaking up on behalf of a billion dollar company – how can we expect a business entity to take a firm stance in what is clearly an enormously complicated situation?

At this point in our experience with social media, we know that all tweets end up flapping listlessly in the wind; that much of the discourse available to us is just fruitless noise. But sometimes it’s important to ask what we actually want from situations like this, where pop culture intersects with crime and mental illness. Miller’s case seems to touch on all the thorny issues at once: do we have empathy for what Miller is going through? Or do the allegations against him outweigh our sympathy? Is your problem with Miller valid? Or are you just a Johnny Depp Stan?

I don’t know how I feel about Ezra Miller today, otherwise I’m glad they’re getting help. But it’s also okay to live in a state of uncertainty about a current situation. A rushed verdict on Twitter’s virality breaks our brains.

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