Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Jar Jar Binks Actor Ahmed Best Says He Was Suicidal Over Backlash

Jar Jar Binks Actor Ahmed Best Says He Was Suicidal Over Backlash

The 44-year-old actor is now planning a solo show to coincide with the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace.

Tran received racially charged backlash after becoming Star Wars' first Asian lead in The Last Jedi.

Best posted a photo of himself and his son on a high bridge, saying: "This was the place I nearly ended my life". [If I was asked], I would say no.

Released in 1999, Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace hit screens and attracted a lot of hate, with Ahmed Best on the receiving end of possibly more ill-will than even George Lucas for his performance as the CGI alien.

Via Twitter, Best opened up about his suicidal thoughts, admitting that it's now coming up on 20 years since he faced a resentment "that still affects my career today". What many of those fans likely didn't stop and consider was that their words were having a real-world negative impact on the man behind the costume: Ahmed Best.

While never referencing the Star Wars franchise or fanbase by name, Best said in a tweet Tuesday that he's grateful to have endured the "media backlash" almost two decades ago that led him to contemplate ending his own life.

Best - who said in an interview with Wired a year ago he received "death threats" after the film's release - shared the same photo on Instagram, opening up about his depression. "As Qui-Gon and Jar Jar are walking through the forest, he says, 'I owe you a life debt.'" Best does admit the character's humor was "a little bit on the nose", though.

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Following a decade in prison, he was released under conditions in 2009 after convincing his parole officers that he had changed. He was captured May 29, 2013, when authorities found him hiding out at a hotel in Pontault-Combault, east of Paris .

In a Wired interview previous year, Best revealed he felt like a success and a failure at the same time as his Star Wars career took off as the annoying character, but added, "I was staring at the end of my career before it started". Binks only made slight appearances in the following two Star Wars movies Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, which were released in 2002 and 2005 respectively.

Best's comments come amid soul-searching among those who enjoy "Star Wars" and other franchises over toxic elements among the fandom. There are human beings behind those frames, just like you and I - human beings that spent months (if not years) poring over the final cut to deliver a product worthy of your time.

"There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of pain, there was a lot of s-t I had to deal with", he shared.

If you're thinking about suicide, are anxious about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) is available 24/7 across the United States. "It's completely absurd. Believe me, Jar Jar was not drawn from a Jamaican, from any stretch of the imagination".

And Johnson and Oz weren't the only ones, with many on Twitter offering their support to the actor, some praising Jar Jar as their favourite Star Wars character.

You can check out Best's tweet below. I just struck out.

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