Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best contemplated suicide after Star Wars backlash

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

For any young actor getting the chance to play a role in a new STAR WARS movie would be a dream come true, and something that would surely open all the doors in Hollywood. But this was not the case for actor Ahmed Best, and in a Twitter post the actor revealed that he contemplated suicide after receiving immense backlash from fans for his work as Jar Jar Binks in the STAR WARS movies.

Best posted the message yesterday accompanied by a picture of him with his son, saying, “Twenty years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival.” Though he doesn’t mention STAR WARS by title the first movie he appeared in, STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE, does celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.

Best was hired to do the voice work and motion capture for the digital character in George Lucas’ first prequel movie when he was in his early twenties. After the movie came out the character was mocked for being obnoxiously goofy, pushing racial stereotypes, and giving the movie a juvenile tone. The character was meant to appeal to young children, but adult fans of the series who felt like they were the target audience loathed the character and lashed out at Best as a result. 

The actor spoke with Wired last year about the experience, saying, “I had death threats through the internet. I had people come to me and say, ‘You destroyed my childhood.’ That’s difficult for a 25-year-old to hear.” He continued, talking about how it was difficult for him to find work after Jar Jar, failing to escape cultural backlash. “There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of pain, there was a lot of shit I had to deal with,” he said. “Everybody else went on. Everybody else worked. Everybody else was accepted by the zeitgeist.”

Best would reprise the role several times after MENACE, including in smaller roles for the other prequels (ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH), the show STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, as well as doing voice work in some STAR WARS video games. Funny enough, Best later won an Annie award for an episode of ROBOT CHICKEN where he spoofed Jar Jar. At the end of his Twitter post, he asked if this experience would make good material for his planned one-man show, asking, “Would this be a good story for my solo show? Lemme know."

Source: Ahmed Best, THR

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