Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars, opens up about his almost-suicide attempt due to the fan backlash.
I was as bad as everyone else. Looking back, it seems unfair to rest the entire movie on the shoulders of one character, but that’s exactly what many of us did. There was a lot wrong with the character Jar Jar Binks, but he was not the sole reason Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace failed. Still, we made him the mascot for our hate, and intentionally or not, we turned our backlash on actor Ahmed Best.
If you don’t remember, Jar Jar was hated. I mean, really and truly hated. The hate was mostly meant for George Lucas, but as a young actor who saw The Phantom Menace as his big break, Ahmed Best couldn’t help but take all the negativity personally.
When Best lived in New York, he would walk across Brooklyn Bridge whenever he needed to feel better. He loved the stretch from Brooklyn to Manhattan with all of the city’s lights shining up ahead. Sometime after the movie came out, Best took a walk across the bridge, only this time, it didn’t seem to cheer him up. If it hadn’t been for a well-timed gust of wind, the actor would have likely ended his life on the bridge that day.
Twenty years later…
Twenty years later, Best has moved on and tried to forget just how small and expendable he felt on that day. While sharing a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with his son, he snapped a photo of the location where he almost took his own life, and for whatever reason, he decided to share his experience with the world. That one single act of sharing his journey opened up the floodgates, but this time, instead of hate, he was flooded with love and support.
20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival. Would this be a good story for my solo show? Lemme know. pic.twitter.com/NvVnImoJ7N
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) July 3, 2018
In the video below, Ahmed Best shares his story, and it’s beyond moving. Best reminds us of what severe negativity can do and why we should be more prone to love and understanding. Just a warning, though, have the tissues handy!
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, please reach out to someone and open up about your feelings. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255; or access the Crisis Text Line by texting the word “Home” to the number 741741.