To the Internet Hecklers Capitalizing on Jake Lloyd’s Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Civilian or celebrity, if you have a mental illness, you can’t run away from it. It will not be ignored. Rather, it will track you down, wrestle you to the ground — and potentially, even immobilize you and steal your life. 

Star Wars’ actor Jake Lloyd — who played Anakin Skywalker in Episode I, The Phantom Menace — suffers from schizophrenia.

According to his mother, Lloyd was off his meds when he physically attacked her last year. A few weeks later, he led the police on a high-speed car chase through Charleston, South Carolina, hitting speeds of 117 miles per hour before crashing into a bunch of trees.

Since that time, Lloyd has been held in jail for ten months and is only now being transferred to a psychiatric facility. I think this demonstrates the breakdown in our criminal justice system: how did it take close to a year for the courts to determine that someone with schizophrenia who’d gone off his medication and had committed a criminal act needed to be transferred? Why was it not glaringly and immediately obvious that a psychiatric facility was the more appropriate rehabilitative place for him? I am angry that it took so long, but mollified he is now receiving proper care.

The internet thinks it’s a big hilarious joke, though. In fact, most online commenters seem positively delighted that Lloyd is ill and that they’re provided a public forum to humiliate. People are cruel, and, when it comes to mental illness, the stigma remains intact.

It’s the Amanda Bynes debacle all over again. Remember what happened with her? Let me remind you: she had that well-publicized mental breakdown in 2014 and then tweeted she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Instead of being satisfied with an explanation for Bynes’ bizarre and erratic behavior, the public continued to go completely apeshit over the opportunity to mock her

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