Gwyneth Paltrow Under Fire for Comparing Internet Troll Abuse to Being at War

Actress said that coming across negative comments about yourself and your friends is dehumanizing in the same way as going through war

Gwyneth Paltrow was trying to say something deep about the current Internet culture, which she said is in its “adolescent phase,” during a tech conference hosted by Re/Code. What happened instead was that she raised the ire of a lot of people, including Senator John McCain’s wife, Cindy.

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“You come across [Internet comments] about yourself and about your friends, and it’s a very dehumanizing thing,” Paltrow said at the conference. “It’s almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it. My hope is, as we get out of it, we’ll reach the next level of conscience.”

She went on to add that the Internet “allows us the opportunity to project outward our hatred, our jealousy. It’s culturally acceptable to be an anonymous commenter. It’s culturally acceptable to say, ‘I’m just going to take all of my internal pain and externalize it anonymously.’”

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The online reaction came almost immediately after her words went public, and particularly among those personally impacted by war. Cindy McCain, who’s husband Senator John McCain was a prisoner of war, spoke out vehemently via Twitter.

“Gweneth Paltrow is a joke. Her life is like taking bullets for a soldier. What a joke! My 2 sons serving in the military should talk to her,” McCain wrote, following it up with a second Tweet, “Perhaps Gweneth Paltrow should go out on patrol with some soldiers. Kind of like a Red Carpet in her mind I guess!”

Plenty of others chimed in via social media with their thoughts. It’s a good thing Paltrow said in that same speech that she’s moved beyond getting hurt by Internet commenters. “I see myself as a chalkboard or a whiteboard or a screen, and someone is just putting up their own projection on it,” she said.