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Johnson, who directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, deleted everything off his Twitter from before Jan. 25, effectively fending off whatever potential attack the alt-right trolls who took down Gunn had in store—at least for now.
Led by conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter Mike Cernovich, the “alt-right,” a far right-wing movement affiliated with white supremacist views, are now using old social media posts to take down left-leaning celebrities. Cernovich targeted comedian Michael Ian Black last week, calling him “another Hollywood pedophile.”
The Mary Sue tweeted on Wednesday that Johnson purged his account of 20,000 tweets, adding, “you probably know what that means by now.”
Johnson responded to the post, claiming there was “no official directive” behind the move and that he didn’t think he had “ever tweeted anything that bad.”
He wrote: “But it’s nine years of stuff written largely off the cuff as ephemera, if trolls scrutinizing it for ammunition is the new normal, this seems like a ‘why not?’ move.”
No official directive at all, and I don’t think I’ve ever tweeted anything that bad. But it’s nine years of stuff written largely off the cuff as ephemera, if trolls scrutinizing it for ammunition is the new normal, this seems like a “why not?” move.— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) July 25, 2018
Many users supported Johnson’s decision and pushed against the notion that it was an “admission of guilt,” while others mourned the loss of his tweets.
This is such a speculative non-story from an otherwise worthwhile site. Rian is so open and genuine that I'm sure he would've replied to a request for comment to create a factual piece before this was even posted. C'mon, Mary Sue. You're better than this!— Jen Johans (@FilmIntuition) July 26, 2018
Exactly, if there are going to be researchers digging into influential people's feed, that is the only way to proceed. That guarantees that those tweets can't be manipulated and used against them in this absurd campaign to destroy their reputations.— Jash Moody (@Jash_asensio) July 25, 2018
The only sad thing is it adds to the digital dark age. social media has replaced letter writing and presumably will be valuable to future historians and scholars. Deleting tweets diminishes that cultural and historical legacy.— Prospector Films (@ProspectorFilms) July 26, 2018
Though Johnson’s internet past may be protected for the time being, there’s no telling how the trolls will react.
H/T AV Club
Kristina Nguyen is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot. She is studying journalism and American studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She has previously contributed to Orange magazine and Silk Club's QUIET! zine.