Millie Bobby Brown, the star of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things, has left Twitter after a new meme spread which depicted her as a homophobe.
The meme’s recent rise in popularity – after starting out with the hashtag #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown – has been somewhat ironic, but in general it has taken on a deeply sinister tone.
Brown’s exit from Twitter follows Stranger Things actor Noah Schnapp feeling like he had to clear up speculation over his character’s sexuality at the age of 12.
Schnapp wrote on Instagram after season one that he didn’t want Will to be stereotyped, and that his character’s sexual orientation was “besides the point.”
Many have pointed out that Brown, who was one of the first recipients of MTV’s gender-neutral awards last year, has long been a vocal supporter of LGBT rights.
This has not affected the viral nature of the meme, however, with one tweet posted on May 12 saying “Millie bobby brown arriving at pride” above a video of someone driving a car into several protesters.
Many of the posts attribute obviously false quotes like “We don’t need gun control, we need faggot patrol” to the 14-year-old star.
One tweet, for instance, shows a Snapchat post by the actor with “just ran over a faggot 😊 cant wait to kill all these gays off” photoshopped over it.
And another obviously doctored image says: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. Why would I be scared of a faggot?”
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The star had 2.28 million followers before she deactivated the account.
Ironically, it appears her last post was a quote-tweet of the Being Me Campaign, an anti-bullying group.
There has been a backlash against the meme, especially since Brown deleted her account, with one user writing that “pretending millie bobby brown, a literal child, is a violent homophobe for memes is f**king disgusting and not funny at all.
“You are grown adults, editing photos of her with captions that include the f slur, violence against lgbt community for comedy and it’s f**king gross.”
They continue: “She is a f**king child and you are cracking jokes about her hating gay people and wanting to kill them when she hasn’t done anything wrong?
“You could genuinely cause so much damage to her reputation and it’s weird as f**k.”
Another fan wrote that “yall evil as f**k for ruining millie bobby brown like this shes a literal angel and her career could end cause of some dumbasses who think using violent homophobic memes with a minor is funny.”
And one said – with receipts – that “MILLIE BOBBY BROWN SUPPORTS LGBTQ+.”
Here’s hoping that the teenager feels able to return to social media soon without being attacked.