Millie Bobby Brown has opened up about the negative impact that commentary on social media had on her as a child star, eventually forcing her to delete all platforms from her phone.
In a new profile with Allure, the Stranger Things star discussed facing online bullying and inappropriate sexualisation for years amid her breakout role as Eleven in the Netflix series – when she was just 12 years old.
“It’s really hard to be hated on when you don’t know who you are yet,” Brown told the publication. “It’s like, ‘What do they hate about me? ‘Cause I don’t know who I am.’ It’s almost like, ‘Okay, I’m going to try being this today.’ [And then they say], ‘Oh, no, I hate that.’ ‘Okay. Forget that. I’m going to try being this today.’ ‘Oh, my God! I hate when you do that.’”
She continued: “Then you just start shutting down because you’re like, ‘Who am I meant to be? Who do they need me to be for them?’” As a result, Brown no longer has social media on her phone, and has deleted all profiles except for Instagram and Facebook, which someone else runs. She added that she went to therapy to deal with the bullying she had faced online.
“I started to grow more, and my family and friends really helped. It helped to be able to understand that I don’t need to be anything they said that I need to be. I just have to develop within myself. That’s what I did.”
Elsewhere in the piece, Brown addressed an “unhealthy situation” she was in with TikTok star Hunter Ecimovic in 2020, which she exited in January of 2021. “I felt very vulnerable,” she says in the piece. “Also, no one on the set knew I was going through this. So it was kind of nice to be able to just deal with that myself and no one else knew. Then it was harder when the whole world knew.”
In July of that year, Ecimovic appeared on Instagram Live and gave descriptions of he and Brown’s alleged sexual relationship, referred to himself as a “groomer” and said he “groomed” her. Brown’s team slammed his remark as “dishonest” as well as “irresponsible, offensive and hateful”.
Brown added that a “year of healing” followed after those comments were made. “When you get publicly humiliated this way, I felt so out of control and powerless. Walking away and knowing that I’m worth everything and this person didn’t take anything from me, it felt very empowering,” she said.
“It felt like my life had finally turned a page and that I actually had ended a chapter that felt so fucking long.”
In April, Brown discussed the “gross” sexualisation she has experienced throughout her career, saying it had been “overwhelming” while appearing on the Guilty Feminist podcast. She went on to say that she believed her experience was a “good representation of what’s going on in the world and how young girls are sexualised”.