Working actors like Henry Cavill and Emma Watson dread only one thing going into show business: tabloid newspapers and the lengths unscrupulous journos go in pursuit of the most delectable scoop. Newsmen with a sensationalist taste in journalism are exploitative lurkers and proud of it. They will run speculative pieces at the expense of human decency and political correctness if it means staying ahead of everyone else, and making an easy buck while they’re at it. For any tabloid publication, any news, however exaggerated or untrue, is good news.
With the advent of the digital age, however, actors like Emma Watson can now invalidate tabloids with a click of a button, without having to go through a mess of publicists. But with human agency back in the hands of the regular consumer, actors now have two more things to fret about: clickbait-heavy bloggers and social media trends perpetuated by the readers themselves. With tabloid reporting henceforth adapting to the times, media is no longer in the hands of professionals. The result is a cornucopia of fake news and bandwagon engagement. Outrage junkies triple by the millions, giving rise to a new and infinitely more vitriolic threat: online bullying and cancel culture. Emma Watson is having none of it.
The latest to trend is someone most people wouldn’t think to expect: social media darling Emma Watson. Her crime? Being relatively inactive during the pandemic. So essentially, nothing. But social media harassment functions the same way tabloid newspapers do: the less it hears about a celebrity, the more lies and speculative material it can stuff straight into the void. Would-be fans of the Harry Potter starlet wondered if Watson was finally losing her touch. No movies in the last two years? Only one film, a supporting role no less, before COVID-19 locked down businesses? Forget having a deadly virus on the loose. Emma Watson “must” be out of a job for good. Or at least, that’s what they hoped was the case. How else would their theories and fragile egos be validated otherwise?
The 31-year-old Emma Watson’s less corrosive fanbase suggested the actress may finally be tying the knot. Perhaps she’s finding the domestic life more to her liking? The media soon picked up on the conversation and wrote hyperbolic articles that only intensified the public’s rumor-mongering. The Paris-born model-activist isn’t so inhibited to suddenly get caught up in the Twitter-verse’s web of lies, but like Henry Cavill before her, this time felt the need to clear the air. Emma Watson prefaced her announcement with characteristic resolve and humility, and was classy all throughout.
Fellow English actor Henry Cavill took to social media to express his concerns about the same brand of “social animosity” proliferating around working actors like himself. He shut down would-be tabloid writers and equally prying “fans” with distinctive panache. Way to show your critics up by standing your ground while still being the bigger person. Emma Watson shares his blight and called for calm from her 29 or so million Twitter followers. The response has been a mix of impassioned support and Twitter users taking advantage of her reappearance to continue hounding her with more lies, speculation, and questions. The Internet on a regular day, y’all.
Emma Watson last appeared in Greta Gerwig’s much-praised big-screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, alongside other distinguished female actresses: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, and Tracy Letts. Watson played Jo March’s (Ronan) older sister Meg. Timothée Chalamet, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, and Chris Cooper round out the cast. The film received six nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards and was dubbed one of the top ten movies of 2019 by the American Film Institute. Emma Watson has since spent her downtime laying low and keeping safe during the coronavirus pandemic, opting not to engage in any new projects for the time being, just like everybody else. Leave her alone, guys.