It’s hardly unusual for celebrities to find themselves the subject of funny Internet memes (crying Kim Kardashian, Southern Cross Shannon Noll), but on Tuesday Wentworth Miller, who is best known for his role on Prison Break, proved just how easily the line between funny and plain insensitive can be crossed.
Posting on Facebook, Miller gave an honest and courageous response to a meme that showed a paparazzi shot of himself in 2010 Photoshopped alongside his Prison Break character, Michael Schofield suggesting he’d (gasp) put on some weight post-production.
But Miller’s response revealed much more than the pain he felt when he saw the meme, which has since been removed from the original account that posted it (The LAD Bible).
“Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time. This one, however, stands out from the rest.”
“In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was suicidal,” Miller wrote.
He continued, “This is a subject I've since written about, spoken about, shared about. But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.”
Miller’s Facebook post has been shared more than 30,000 times and has more than 16,000 comments and counting.
Most of them messages of gratitude from people who live with or know someone living with a mental health condition thanking him for sharing his personal experience.
His articulate message and the responses that followed prove just how powerful the Internet can be -- for the right reasons -- but more importantly, that you never really know the personal battles of somebody else.
Miller who is an advocate for mental health first came out as gay in 2013, after declining an invitation to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia, because of the country’s anti-gay laws.
In a letter to the festival director, Miller wrote, “I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300224636. For specific information or support relating to eating disorders call Butterfly Foundation on 1800 ED HOPE or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.