Not even one week after becoming the target of a homophobic meme and deleting her Twitter account, Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown took aim at bullies during her MTV awards speech. As the 14-year-old actress accepted her award for Best Performance in a Show, she repeated the age-old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything.”
After thanking her fans for their support, Brown, who was speaking to the audience from her home in Atlanta, explained that she had to miss the ceremony due to the fact that she had to recover from a recent injury. Despite being thousands of miles away, Brown used the opportunity to get a few things off her chest.
“Finally, since I know that there are many young people watching this — and even to the adults, too — they could probably use the reminder that I was taught, if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say it,” said Brown. “There should be no space in this world for bullying, and I’m not going to tolerate it. And neither should any of you.”
The story behind the homophobic memes associated with Brown isn’t too unlike the story behind a lot of other memes: abstract or outright nonsensical connections being made between two things or people. In Brown’s case, people were superimposing images of her face over violently homophobic imagery being passed around using the hashtag #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown.
In the face of such mean-spirited behavior, nobody could blame Brown if she felt discouraged and removed herself from the spotlight. But instead of backing down, Brown stood up proudly to take down anyone who would use negativity to hurt others. Brown concluded her speech by telling fans that if they needed help rising above the hate, they should message her on her Instagram, which is still up.