Star Trek: The Next Generation actress Marina Sirtis kicked a social media hornet's nest when, amid the call for racial justice that has gripped much of the United States with protests, she harshly criticized stage and screen icon Lin-Manuel Miranda for his approach to the conversation. Quoting a tweet from Miranda that has since been deleted, Sirtis called out Miranda for using "platitudes" in a "time of crisis." It did not take long for the rest of Twitter to discover her comments and jump to Miranda's defense. In particular, Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire star Mara Wilson called Sirtis out for her own alleged bad behavior during a convention appearance two years ago.
It is not clear whether Miranda's tweet was "about" the civil unrest or not. He regularly posts inspiration and upbeat messages to Twitter. The tweet to which Sirtis objected read, "Gmorning. Keep going. Listen to the aches. Learn from your mistakes. Get right with your guts. Keep going."
"Could you for once in your life, say something that actually matters at this time of crisis?" Sirtis tweeted. "Your platitudes are pointless."
Miranda's soft-spoken approach is part of what makes him so broadly appealing. Being seen as "non-threatening" is a way activists of color have historically had success connecting with white audiences and avoiding condemnation from the press and law enforcement. It is not uncommon for activists to see those tactics as ineffective and appeasing. In this case, though, Sirtis quickly discovered that a great many people do not appreciate it when white-presenting celebrities try to tell people of color how to talk about race.
"I follow him so I know where-of I speak," Sirtis said when asked what attacking him on Twitter was meant to accomplish. "He has 3 million plus followers. He could do so much good but no, he continues to post platitudes. I'm done."
Commenters were quick to point out that Miranda's pinned tweet is a thread directing his followers to resources to help activists, police abuse victims, and other charities related to the demonstrations. His timeline is also full of retweets from news organizations covering the protests and activists on the ground. Sirtis ultimately acknowledged that she didn't know that, and tried to walk back her criticism by saying she was in bad mood.
The commotion got Sirtis on the radar of Wilson, who added a new wrinkle to the discussion:
Hi Marina! Remember when we did a Con together and you said that America had no history, and when I said Native Americans did, you said “the Native Americans never built anything”? Because I do!— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) June 4, 2020
That appears to be the final word on it for now -- after several tweets defending her original position, Sirtis finally tired of going after Miranda and turned her attention to other targets. She has not responded to Wilson's tweet.1comments