In a new interview, actor Ben Platt reveals that the backlash to the Dear Evan Hansen film adaptation was so intense it drove him off of Twitter.
Platt spoke out about the experience in a profile in The New York Times, which he called a "horrific" introduction to the dark side of the internet.
Platt, 29, won a Tony for his portrayal of the titular character, a high school student, on Broadway in 2017, but his casting in the film version sparked immediate backlash before the film even began production because of his age.
The film was very poorly received for many reasons, but on the internet Platt shouldered nearly all of the blame, and the Twitter uproar was intense.
The criticism of Platt's age was so intense that it even became the subject of memes on Twitter that mocked the star. Asked about the time surrounding the film's production and release, Platt told the Times:
"It was definitely a disappointing experience, and difficult, and it definitely opened my eyes to the internet and how horrific it can be."
"You’d think, after doing 'Dear Evan Hansen' onstage for four years, I would have already known that."
"I try my best to focus on people who tell me it was moving to them and they really felt seen by it. It is very easy for the good to get drowned out by the bad."
To make that shift, Platt had to leave Twitter, a move he said has made all the difference. As he put it:
"I find that Twitter is almost exclusively for tearing people down. I wasn’t getting anything positive, and it’s been really nice to be away."
On Twitter, Hansen's experience definitely resonated, even with people without a celebrity's platform.
But while Dear Evan Hansen may have inspired vitriol toward the actor, many on Twitter are very excited about his current gig as the lead in the Broadway revival of the classic musical Parade.
Despite the negative Twitter experience, Platt also told the Times that the Hansen experience overall remains close to his heart, even as he has moved into a newer, more adult chapter of his career.
"It will always be a piece of me."
"I feel a simultaneous constant pride and desire to keep it in my heart at all times, but also a real readiness and excitement at having moved forward and embracing my adulthood and playing characters that live in different worlds than that."
Platt will next appear in the Amazon movie The People We Hate at the Wedding, which comes out later this month.