Despite having grown up in the public eye, Sophie Turner has managed to bypass the tabloid scrutiny and social media gaffes that tend to plague her counterparts. However this week, the 21-year-old Game of Thrones star learned a valuable lesson in what not to do if she wants to avoid the wrath of social media gadflies eager to hang a celebrity for any perceived misstep.
First, the backstory. Earlier this week, a video posted by New York DJ and man-about-town Brendan Fallis showed Turner in the gym with her boyfriend, Joe Jonas. When the camera pans to Turner, she says “What’s up” followed by something unintelligible. Some wannabe sleuths were quick to accuse Turner of saying the “N word.” Before she could defend herself, the hounds had been released. Turner was branded a racist and we had traumatic flashbacks of Sansa Stark being brutally assaulted by Ramsay Bolton.
On Tuesday, Turner had no choice but to defend herself. “I used the word ‘motherfuckers’ in a recent video posted in an Instagram story and not a hateful racial slur that has been suggested,” she said in a statement to The Wrap. “I am incredibly upset that anyone would think otherwise, and I want to make it clear that I would never use such an abhorrent word.”
We’ve watched the video, and in no way is Turner’s word intelligible enough to know what she said without a modicum of doubt. But in this era, when baiting a celebrity is easier than saying the world “celebrity,” facts are secondary.
So about that lesson. Turner has reached the level of fame—especially with her new high profile romance—that anything she does online will be noticed by someone, somewhere. Though we’re not suggesting Kardashian levels of self-awareness and content curation, some more discretion on Turner’s part is required if she intends on surviving the celebrity industrial complex. Suddenly Westeros doesn’t sound so bad, does it.