YouTuber and film critic Lindsay Ellis departed social media after months of being embroiled in a controversy surrounding comments she made earlier this year about Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
In a tweet posted on Dec. 27, Ellis simply wrote “Goodbye.” She also linked to an essay on her Patreon entitled “Walking Away from Omelas,” a reference to an Ursela K. Le Guin short story, implying Ellis believes she is leaving an unfair system.
Ellis first met controversy in March when she tweeted that the Disney animated movie “Raya and the Last Dragon” was an “‘Avatar’ redux” after viewing it.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
“I think we need to come up with a name for this genre that is basically Avatar: The Last Airbender reduxes. It’s like half of all YA fantasy published in the last few years anyway,” she said in the since-deleted tweet.
The comparison between the two franchises was seen by some online as racist, since they both loosely draw inspiration from Asian cultures but share little else in common.
Ellis deepened the furor with a follow-up tweet in which she said, “I can see where if you squint, I was implying all Asian-inspired properties are the same, especially if you were already privy to those conversations where I had not seen them. But the basic framework of TLA is becoming popular in fantasy fiction outside of Asian inspired stuff.” The reference to squinting, a derogatory stereotype often used to reference Asian eye shapes, drew further criticism, which led to her deleting the tweet.
Additional attempts to clarify, including a video essay Ellis posted in April to her 1.2 million YouTube, seemed only to intensify calls for her “cancellation” and lead to additional criticism that she was claiming victimhood.
In the section of the video entitled “My list of sins” where she addresses all controversies linked to her, she says, “Where I feel like an amendment or an apology is warranted, I will do so. But where I feel like the criticism is being made in bad faith, is unreasonable, or is flat-out untrue, I shan’t bend the knee.”