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Former child star Mara Wilson defends 'Stranger Things' actress Millie Bobby Brown in poignant essay

Mara Wilson. (Christina House / For The Times)
Mara Wilson. (Christina House / For The Times)

"Stranger Things 2" star Millie Bobby Brown has found an unexpected ally in former child star Mara Wilson.

In a new essay for Elle magazine, Wilson ("Matilda," "Mrs. Doubtfire") used her own experiences to defend the 13-year-old Netflix star from the critical eye of social media and the wandering eyes of predators. She also argued against "the  culture of dehumanization" Hollywood has enabled.

The "Bojack Horseman" actress is the latest celebrity to come to the defense of the popular sci-fi series' young stars, who have been subjected to increased scrutiny since the second season recently launched. ("Game of Thrones" star Sophie Turner recently defended 14-year-old Finn Wolfhard after a video of him avoiding fans surfaced.)

Millie Bobby Brown attends Netflix's "Stranger Things 2" premiere on Oct. 26 in Westwood. Her appearance sparked reactions in social media (Valerie Macon / AFP/Getty Images)
Millie Bobby Brown attends Netflix's "Stranger Things 2" premiere on Oct. 26 in Westwood. Her appearance sparked reactions in social media (Valerie Macon / AFP/Getty Images)

Recalling her own experiences as a young actress, Wilson, now 30, wrote about her discomfort with commentary on images of Brown, 13, dressed up at a premiere. The reactions, she said, were split, with Twitter users and news outlets saying that the young star looked old or blamed the actress' parents for letting her dress the way she did.

"It would be unacceptable for an adult to comment on the body of a 13-year-old girl they knew. So why do these adults make pronouncements about the body of a 13-year-old girl they have never met?" Wilson wrote. "I laughed when it happened to me. But I can't laugh when it happens to others."

She felt sick and furious that Brown's innocence was fetishized, asserting that "a 13-year-old girl is not all grown up."

As someone who grew up in and near Hollywood, Wilson said she believes that the industry "isn't necessarily immoral, but amoral." She also called on writers and commentators to be "careful and thoughtful" with their words.

"If a stranger on the internet tells me that I'm ugly, or that they want to have sex with me (which happens multiple times a week), I can handle it. I am not a child anymore. Millie Bobby Brown is. Commenting on a child's body, whether in a 'positive' or 'negative' way, in a sexualizing or pitying way, is still commenting on a child's body."

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