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Part rom-com, part horror story, the series You has been dominating Twitter feeds since it premiered on Netflix last month (after originally airing on Lifetime back in September). But where many viewers see a cautionary tale about an obsessive stalker, Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown sees a budding romance.
Through You‘s first season, Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley plays a bookstore manager who falls in love with—and promptly begins stalking—one of his customers. No spoilers here, but if you’ve seen any of the many horror movies in the same vein, you can guess how the story goes. His pursuit leads to many terrifying breaches of privacy and even more blood.
Brown took to Instagram this week to defend the stalker character, Joe Goldberg, despite the laundry list of crimes he commits throughout the show.
"He's not creepy, he's in love with her" is she really that stupid lmao pic.twitter.com/0QfMb6pOyb— cait︽✵︽ 52 (@ivarsforbes) January 15, 2019
“He’s not creepy, he’s in love with her, and it’s OK,” she says before admitting she’s obsessed with the show and binge-watching it. Apparently realizing her first video would receive pushback, she uploaded a second one claiming Goldberg isn’t a stalker, as other fans would argue. He’s simply acting out of love. “Just watch the show and don’t judge me on my opinion,” she adds.
But, of course, Twitter did just that. Many users who found her views problematic called her childish and worried how her younger fans would react to Brown condoning the stalking.
millie bobby brown is a BABY ofc she thinks that behavior like this is acceptable. it’s probably the same kind of thinking that leads her to believe drake texting her and taking her out to dinner alone is acceptable. please don’t use your platforms to bully literal children https://t.co/o8iElicZfz— ☆ texas mom ☆ (@lifeofafeminist) January 15, 2019
I hope someone has spoken to her about this because this mentality is disturbing and alarming, especially for such a young person. I also hope her young audience does NOT agree with it!!! Please stop.— sue (@bithriller) January 15, 2019
Millie Bobby Brown's take on the stalker character from 'You' just goes to show how young and naive she is and how y'all need to stop treating her like she's a mature young adult when she's literally a 14 yr old kid smh— - ̗̀megan ̖́- (@megancinema) January 15, 2019
Brown isn’t alone in mistaking the character’s abusive and violent behavior with love. At Badgley’s incredulity, fans have begged him to stalk or kidnap them.
But some users blamed Brown’s close relationship with Drake—who’s been giving the teenage actor dating advice despite being twice her age—for warping her ideas about healthy relationships. Brown has called the rapper a mentor, but that hasn’t stopped fans from questioning Drake’s motives for the friendship.
Also, Millie Bobby Brown should not be hanging around older men (i.e. Drake). So often are young girls manipulated by older men who tell them they're mature for their age in order to get close with them. We should be trying to protect these girls rather than bash on them— - ̗̀megan ̖́- (@megancinema) January 15, 2019
Drake’s efforts clearly paying off.— Jonathan (@NateCAB) January 15, 2019
Mostly, though, users just wanted to know: Was Brown even watching the same show?
hun are you even watching the show pic.twitter.com/4TpIcbMsB8— 𝕜𝕒𝕥 ✨ (@alinasliqht) January 15, 2019
Um. He is a serial killer???? He watches her pervertedly??? That’s not live. That’s obsession. Two vastly different things— Kelsey (@kelseyelaine_) January 15, 2019
Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.