For all the fanfare the upcoming, all-female Ghostbusters reboot has received, it's also been subject to an abnormally strong case of internet backlash. Of course, any installment in a beloved fantasy film franchise is bound to have its haters, but director Paul Feig's latest film has been plagued by a particularly nasty and sexist group of naysayers. Their ignorance has been persistent and widespread, reaching an apex in the comments of the official Ghostbusters trailer, which is allegedly the most-disliked trailer in the history of YouTube.
Feig has done a pretty good job of deflecting the negativity since last January, but now it seems like he's finally fed up. Last week, comments he made in an old interview surfaced in the New York Daily News expressing his disdain for the kind of "geek culture" that's "home to some of the biggest assholes I've ever met in my life." While the original quote was taken out of context and is actually from over a year ago, the message is clear: geeks and bullies are not mutually exclusive, and actually, bullies within geek communities can be particularly vicious online.
To follow up on that thread and clarify his position, Feig posted a lengthy plea last night that further calls out "the micro minority" of geek-bullies and aims to "[take] our community back" from them.
"I very much regret saying in my answer that I had actually 'met' any 'assholes' from the geek community," Feig wrote. "I have never met anyone from the geek world face-to-face who wasn't a warm, kind person. The 'assholes' of which I speak are the ones who live online, who write those hateful tweets and posts and comments. I'm not talking about the people who have true concerns and worries about the rebooting of a franchise they love, nor am I talking about people who have watched the trailer for our movie and didn't like it. Those are all valid opinions and I respect them all. I am talking about those that write misogyny and hate and threats. Those are the 'assholes' of which I spoke. As a lifelong geek and proud member of the geek community (as well as the creator of the TV series Freaks and Geeks), I abhor bullies."
When you pair these statements with the work he's doing to push gender equality in film, it's clear Feig intends to use the bizarre backlash to the Ghostbusters reboot to enact positive change in the film and internet communities. There's plenty of bullshit flying around the periphery of his latest project, but credit to him for engaging it head on and harnessing all the negative energy into something good.