In an interview with GQ, The White Lotus actress, Sydney Sweeney voiced her disappointment at the invasive and upsetting harassment caused by online factions of trolls and the extreme sexualization perpetrated by social media and the fan communities. Even before Sydney Sweeney found her place in the industry and settled into her own skin, the Euphoria star had to tread through years of subjection to peer gaze, alienation, and embarrassment at a young age.
The residual emotions from years of online and offline hate then come scurrying back as she is forced back under the ostracizing limelight of abuse and the pervasive male gaze in her career as a Hollywood actress.
Sydney Sweeney Speaks of the Cruel Online Hate Parade
Sydney Sweeney, a 25-year-old Spokane native from Washington state, first rose to popularity when she starred in the television series, Everything Sucks! Working as an aspiring actress from the early age of 12, Sweeney ultimately secured the role of Cassie Howard in HBO’s teen drama Euphoria in which she plays an abused, sexualized, self-destructive teenager perpetually suffering from low esteem and insecurity. Having dutifully portrayed the role to its core, the actress much like her on-screen persona began to be subjected to a scrutinizing, invasive and targeted attack that comes with the exploitative nature of over-sexualization.
When trolls took screenshots of her nude appearances on Euphoria and shared them online tagging her family, the harassment became too transgressive to not comment upon. In her November 11th interview with GQ, Sydney Sweeney claimed,
“It got to the point where they were tagging my family. My cousins don’t need that. It’s completely disgusting and unfair. You have a character that goes through the scrutiny of being a sexualized person at school and then an audience that does the same thing.”
However, this is not the actress’s first rodeo encountering online bullying. Her controversial stance on American socio-political issues had drawn a wave of scrutiny earlier this year and sparked reactions among alarmed fans as talks began to circulate regarding Sweeney’s cancellation.
Sydney Sweeney Speaks About Her Childhood & Career
Even though the explosive nature of the Euphoria-related online abuse began comparatively recently, the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actress revealed that her early and formative years in school didn’t look much different.
“I had b**bs before other girls and I felt ostracized for it, I was embarrassed and I never wanted to change in the locker room. I think that I put on this weird persona other people had of me because of my body. So, I did play every sport and I studied really hard, and I did everything that people wouldn’t think I would do, to show them that my body doesn’t define who I am.”
Her experience with trolls dates back to May 2021 when she was forced to go on Instagram Live to call out people for body-shaming her. During the time, Sweeney was trending on social media after a tweet dubbed her as being ugly. As the actress struggles to voice her growing disappointment at the traumatizing culture of social media harassment, she also finds the strength to clap back at these trolls — “I think it’s ridiculous. I’m an artist, I play characters. It makes me want to play characters that piss people off more.”
Euphoria is now streaming on HBO.