Hollywood stars, including Robert Pattinson, are at the center of a social media storm after President Trump accused them of “Hollywood whining” following the blockbuster success of the latest installment in the Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
The British actor, singer, and model is best known for starring in The Twilight Saga as Edward Cullen, the charismatic vampire who lures women in his twilight years to hang out with him and his “family” of undead creatures. The saga is one of the most popular film series of all time, and its fourth and final installment broke several box office records when it came out last year.
The series has sold more than 300 million copies worldwide, with 100 million of those sales taking place in the United States alone. The last film in the saga, Breaking Dawn – Part 2, was the highest-grossing of 2017, earning $327.3 million worldwide.
Since the beginning of the year, rumors have swirled that Breaking Dawn – Part 2 may be the last installment of the series, causing fans to flock to social media to express their grief at the prospect of the saga coming to an end. Many of the comments on Twitter and other social media platforms have lashed out at Robert Pattinson, threatening to never watch his work again and claiming that he “betrayed” Edward Cullen by not staying dead.
While most of the outrage has been aimed at the movie star, others have taken to social media to slam President Trump for his comments.
On Saturday, the president tweeted in defense of his position that the entertainment industry “whines” too much, adding that he is “not happy” that the latest Twilight movie is “breaking records” and receiving critical acclaim.
“I’m not happy that Hollywood Whining Betty White (last queen of comedy) has become the symbol of millions of women who have been wronged by men in the industry,” he wrote, referring to a widely circulated photo of the 91-year-old actress holding a sign that reads “#Metoo” (meaning “Me Too”) above her head. The image has become a symbol of the fight against sexual misconduct in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, which has toppled high-profile men in the film industry including disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
“The Fake News Media likes to say that I am anti-woman, but this is totally false,” President Trump continued. “I am pro-woman and always will be.”
The tweet drew swift condemnation from celebrities and fans alike, with many users pointing out that Edward Cullen is a male chauvinist pig who believes women should be treated as property and that Bella is nothing more than a pawn in his plans to reign over the undead. A Change.org petition calling on Netflix to cancel the Twilight series has accumulated more than 150,000 signatures, while protesters have taken to the streets in several cities to demand that theaters not show the latest Twilight installment.
“Mr. Trump has stated many times that he does not support domestic violence. I wonder if he will apologize for comparing women to dogs as part of his defense against Hollywood’s ‘whining,’” tweeted actress and activist Alyssa Milano.
Even more surprisingly, Trump’s tweet drew praise from one of the most unlikely sources: conservative media personality Glenn Beck. In a tweet of his own, Beck congratulated the president for his “strong stand” against “political correctness” and his ability to “bring the voices of everyday Americans” to the fore. Beck’s support for Trump is well-documented. Last year, the former Fox News host said he would “rather have [Trump] as a friend” than a “foe” and praised the president’s stance on abortion and his desire to return to a “nation of Christian values.”
Whether or not you love Robert Pattinson or the Twilight saga, it’s hard to deny that the British actor has been the subject of some of the most ruthless trolling on social media in recent memory. While many of Pattinson’s fans have been quick to defend his right to free speech in the face of online harassment, others have taken to social media to express their outrage at being attacked for watching a movie or liking a Facebook page.
Trump On Robert Pattinson: ‘He Will Be Going On A Lonely Walk’
Since the beginning of the year, there has been a concerted effort to marginalize and humiliate Robert Pattinson online. One of the most prominent campaigns was #KillBobPattinson, a hashtag created in response to an image that the Associated Press published in January 2018 comparing the British actor to a Nazi leader. The meme-ification of the hashtag has caused it to trend worldwide on Twitter, with users sharing images of their “kill” bobs, the colorful wooden sticks that people in Japan dip into alcohol before hitting the dance floor during the New Year’s celebrations. A separate trend, #MetooBob, compared Pattinson to Weinstein.
The attacks on the actor have been relentless. In January 2018, the satirical news website the Onion ran a story with the headline “Robbie Pattinson In 2018: Seeking Redemption From Trolls”, while in December 2017 The Hollywood Reporter profiled the “toxic” fan base that had formed around the Twilight star.
On the flip side, Pattinson’s work has been celebrated by some of the most powerful individuals in Hollywood. In January 2018, President Trump tweeted in praise of the British actor, crediting him with helping to “publicize” the importance of “speaking your mind” and “being yourself”. Days earlier, the president had tweeted that he was “honored” to have Pattinson sitting with him at a State Dinner.
“Robert Pattinson will always be a fabulous person and will be loved by many, including me. He will be going on a lonely walk,” Trump wrote at the time. “I hope he will understand that being famous is not forever. It comes with a price. He will have thousands of new fans but also countless old ones who loved him for who he was.”
‘A Real Master Of The Art Of Self-Aggrandizement’
Whether or not you love Robert Pattinson, it’s hard not to be awed by his ability to incite such vitriolic responses from fans and trolls alike. The British actor has cultivated a brand that is as much about marketing himself as it is about his films, regularly using his social media platforms to post cryptic updates about his personal life and to promote and endorse products. As the New York Times recently pointed out, “[h]is brand is all about boasting. He never apologizes for being more famous than you; he rarely even acknowledges his audience.”
When he’s not busy promoting himself, Pattinson’s attacks on other celebrities are often just as entertaining. In the latest installment of his annual Christmas Letter, the actor regaled his fans with an all-out assault on Lady Gaga. “She came for a photo today and wasn’t even that interested in looking cool,” he tweeted in 2017, referring to the singer’s appearance at one of his concerts that summer.
“She actually asked me what my problem was. Like really? Do you have a problem? Do you have a problem with women, you disgusting piece of sh*t?” Pattinson continued in the letter, mocking Gaga’s famous outfits and makeup and calling her a “beautiful liar” who is “just trying to be famous.”
While most people would consider such vitriol to be a result of mental illness, for fans of Pattinson it’s clear that this kind of behavior is a source of pride, a reflection of their fandom and their anger at being denied connection to one of the biggest names in Hollywood.