The real reason these celebs quit social media

Social media can be a helpful tool for celebs who want to connect with fans and promote their upcoming projects. (Though the absence of a celebrity's social media presence can sometimes serve the same purpose like when Taylor Swift famously wiped her Instagram and Twitter as a marketing gimmick for her album Reputation.) However, as with all things Internet, too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad.

Kanye West quits social media more than most people quit the gym, and — love him or hate him — it's easy to understand why. The digital age allows anyone to speak to celebrities directly, regardless of what they have to say. And in that same vein, stars, who were once shielded by a wall of PR-approved statements, are now free to speak their minds online without a filter to varying degrees of backlash.

From "constant negativity" to Twitter feuds and hackers, here are the real reasons a few of your favorite celebrities quit social media.

Will Poulter left Twitter after the Black Mirror movie

The television series Black Mirror often dreams up potential futures, but Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the choose-your-own-adventure film that dropped in December 2018, created it by allowing viewers to control the actions of the main character. The hit show and movie teach audiences about the dangers of technology, and, unfortunately, actor Will Poulter, who portrays video game creator Colin Ritman in the mind-bending sci-fi flick, learned those lessons in present day.

Hinting that Twitter responses to the movie were affecting his emotional well-being, Poulter tweeted that he was "choosing to take a step back" from the platform. He shared, "Before I do, I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to everybody who has watched 'Bandersnatch' and for their responses (whatever they may be) to the material we created. I accept all criticisms, and it's been a delight to learn that so many of you enjoyed what many people worked very hard to produce!" Poulter added that he hopes the "shift to reduce my personal expression" in order to focus "on issues that matter" will ultimately "result in a better outcome for everyone." 

The Detroit star signed off with, "This is not the end. Consider it an alternative path." We're hoping Poulter comes back soon. 

Pete Davidson caused a major scare

Remember when Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson went from "very casual" to engaged to broken up all within a few months? Yeah, 2018 was wild. In July of that year (barely two months into their relationship), Davidson wiped his Instagram clean. 

As fans and media began to speculate that the celeb couple might have broken up, Davidson posted an Instagram Story (per Insider) to explain that "nothing happened," and that he just didn't want to be on Instagram or "any social media platform" anymore. "The Internet is an evil place, and it doesn't make me feel good," he said. "I love you all, and I'm sure I'll be back at some point."

Davidson has spoken openly about his mental health issues over the years, so, when he posted a disturbing message then deleted his Instagram yet again in December 2018, people were worried. "I'm doing my best to stay here for you, but I actually don't know how much longer I can last," he wrote on Instagram before deleting his social media accounts, as reported by AV News. "All I've ever tried to do was help people. Just remember I told you so." The post triggered a "wellness check" by the NYPD, and, luckily, Davidson was unharmed, making a brief appearance on SNL hours later (via CNN). At the time of this writing, Davidson's official Instagram account remains deleted.

Kelly Marie Tran was attacked by toxic Star Wars fans

Shortly after the 2017 London premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kelly Marie Tran reflected on her role as engineer Rose Tico, which made her the first Asian actress to join the galaxy far, far away. "It's been both an honor and a responsibility. I feel so overwhelmed," she told Variety, adding, "I get very emotional when I see people who are able to identify with this character."

However, by July 2018, Tran deleted all the posts off her Instagram account after months of facing racist and sexist online harassment, as noted by HuffPost. In an op-ed in The New York Times that August, Tran broke her silence on her decision to delete the app. "It wasn't their words, it's that I started to believe them," she began. "Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories."

She ended the piece on an empowering note. "You might know me as Kelly. I am the first woman of color to have a leading role in a 'Star Wars' movie," she wrote. "I am the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair. My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started." 

She has yet to post on Instagram at the time of this writing.

Armie Hammer went up against BuzzFeed

Actor Armie Hammer deleted his Twitter account in November 2017, after a scathing article published by BuzzFeed claimed his career was due to the Call Me By Your Name star being a privileged white male. "Your chronology is spot on but your perspective is bitter AF. Maybe I'm just a guy who loves his job and refuses to do anything but what he loves to do…?" the actor replied on Twitter. But a day later, he deleted his account.

"I just have no impulse control," Hammer told The Wrap later that week. "So if somebody says something stupid, I couldn't help but say something back, and then it just exploded. This is a toxic environment, and my life is way better off. It's so funny — People are so addicted and into Twitter, it seems crazy that someone could walk away from it! They're like, wait, he DELETED IT? It was actually really easy."

On Jan. 26, 2018, Hammer cheekily returned to the social media platform with a simple tweet: "Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes…"

Justin Bieber followed through on a threat

Back in August 2016, Justin Bieber was spending a lot of time with Lionel Richie's daughter Sofia Richie. While the pair never confirmed a romantic relationship, Richie made several appearances on Bieber's Instagram, which led to a slew of negative comments. They allegedly became so vicious that the pop star issued a threat to his fans.

"I'm gonna make my Instagram private if you guys don't stop the hate," he wrote in the caption of a post, as reported by CNN. "This is getting out of hand, if you guys are really fans you wouldn't be so mean to people that I like." The online drama took a turn when ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez jumped into the comment fray. "If you can't handle the hate then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol — it should be special between you two only," she wrote. "Don't be mad at your fans. They love you. They were there for you before anyone."

After replying to his former flame with, "It's funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way," Bieber took the nuclear option and deleted his Instagram account. During a November 2016 show in London, Bieber was still anti-Instagram, describing it as "for the devil" and "hell." However, luckily for his fans and for T-Mobile, he reactivated his account the following February, just in time for his Super Bowl commercial for the mobile service (via NME).

Iggy Azalea had enough of body shaming

Iggy Azalea took a romantic Hawaiian vacation in February 2015 with her then-boyfriend, NBA star Nick Young. Since paparazzi do what paparazzi do, they snapped pics of the Australian rapper in a tiny red bikini (via the Daily Mail). And since there's still a segment of the population who don't know that cellulite is natural, she returned from vacation to negative online comments. "Just got back from a great vacation, came online and saw apparently it's shocking and unheard of to be a woman and have cellulite. Lol," the "Fancy" singer tweeted

"I feel the hatred and pettiness I see online at all times is … making me become an angry person and I cannot be that," she continued, adding, "But I also want to let my fans know iam [sic] taking some time away from social media. I need to be happy and it is too negative and draining."

Azalea then told her fans that her management would be running her social media accounts for the foreseeable future. "The Internet is the ugliest reflection of man kind [sic] there is," she concluded. At the time of this writing, Azalea is a regular presence on Twitter, so it appears all is well.

Ariel Winter needed "a moment to breathe"

Modern Family star Ariel Winter quit Twitter on July 6, 2018, due to the "constant negativity she experiences," as her rep told Entertainment Tonight. "She needs a moment to breathe and enjoy herself without judgement," her rep added. Although no specific reason was given for her social media leave, a now-deleted tweet from shortly before her Twitter exit might hold some clues. 

"If a paparazzi attempts to take another f***ing picture in front of my house one more time I swear to god I will find ANY SORT of legal action," she wrote, per Yahoo! Entertainment. "Sad when you literally enjoy your job but hate every part of the fame aspect. Also sad when you desperately want to move somewhere remote so you can just live a normal life in peace. I can't speak for anyone else, but I hate being followed and I hate my s**t out in the news."

At the time of this writing, Ariel Winter maintains a very active Twitter presence.

Leslie Jones was the target of right-wing trolls

Ghostbusters was by far the "most polarizing movie" of 2016. Immediately following the trailer's release, Leslie Jones became the target of racially charged online attacks that forced the comedian to quit Twitter. "I feel like I'm in a personal hell. I didn't do anything to deserve this. It's just too much. It shouldn't be like this. So hurt right now," she tweeted. She added, "I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the s**t I got today…wrong."

Twitter wound up permanently banning right-wing personality and former Breitbart.com tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos for leading the charge against Jones, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Yiannopoulos, who called Jones "barely literate," somehow played the victim. "Like all acts of the totalitarian regressive left, this will blow up in their faces, netting me more adoring fans. We're winning the culture war, and Twitter just shot themselves in the foot," he wrote (via Breitbart.com). "This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you're not welcome on Twitter." 

On July 21, 2016, Jones returned to Twitter acting like her usual hilarious self. "Welp…a b***h thought she could stay away. But who else is gonna live tweet Game of Thrones!!" she tweeted out.

Daisy Ridley wanted off all platforms

Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Daisy Ridley deleted her Instagram account in 2016 after she received online backlash for posting a message in support of victims affected by gun violence who appeared at that year's Teen Choice Awards.

"[As] I sat in the audience yesterday tears were streaming down my face at the tribute to those that have been lost to gun violence," she wrote, as reported by People. "I didn't get a great picture of the incredible group that came on stage but they were so brave. It was a true moment of togetherness. We must ‪#‎stoptheviolence‬." As noted by Vanity Fair, the comment section quickly turned into a "flaming quagmire." Ridley deleted all of her social media accounts shortly thereafter. 

In an interview with Glamour published on Dec. 5, 2017, Ridley explained why she left social media. "I posted a thing about gun regulations, because I was at an event in tribute to the Orlando shooting at Pulse [where 49 people were killed and over 50 were wounded]. People weren't nice about how I looked. And I was like, 'I'm out.' Simple as that. That is not what I signed up for," she explained. She added that she's not emotionally "equipped" for social media and that it's "not good" for her.

Will we ever see her online again? Don't count on it. "I will never get back on," she told Radio Times in 2017.

Azealia Banks' Cardi B comments crossed a line

During a visit to The Breakfast Club on May 11, 2018, feud-happy rapper Azealia Banks had some harsh words for fellow celeb Cardi B, calling her a "caricature of a black woman that black women themselves would never be able to get away with."

Referencing Beyoncé's 2016 album, Lemonade, Banks stated, "Two years ago, the conversation surrounding black women's culture was really reaching an all-time high." She explained, "There was just this really, really, really intelligent conversation going on nationally, and then everything just kind of changed and then it was like Cardi B."

It wasn't long before Cardi B hopped on social media to respond to Banks' comments. "I'm from the hood. I speak how I speak I am how I am. I did not choose to be famous people choose me! People followed me on Instagram and the people gave me a platform to introduce my talent," she wrote in a since-deleted Instagram comment. "GOODBYE. I'm not apologizing or killing myself because of who I am." The Invasion of Privacy rapper then deleted her entire Instagram account. However, the hiatus didn't last long. She returned to Instagram on May 20, 2018, to tease her music video for "Be Careful."