Live The Force has a great post about Jake Lloyd’s troubles and what Star Wars fans can do:
After years of negativity from fans, Jake and his family may want nothing more to do with us, and that would be understandable. Or maybe just general well wishes can help lift their spirits knowing they have the support of fans from around the world.
But maybe they need more than that. I would like to invite them to let US know what THEY need. If they need privacy, they can have it. Do they just want well wishes? We have that for miles. Do they need more than that? All they have to do is ask and we will do what we can for them.
At first when it seemed like this was another case of a wild weekend gone wrong or another former child actor getting in trouble, there were plenty of jokes to go around. I knew people weren’t necessarily trying to be mean, just make light out of an embarrassing situation where at least no one got hurt (though it could’ve ended very, very badly).
But my gut feeling was there had to be a sad story behind all of this. Happy campers don’t lead the cops on car chases over 100 mph. Usually the driver has something to hide: weapons or drugs in the car, fleeing a crime scene, intoxication…something serious. In this case, Lloyd didn’t have a license, which is of course illegal but not worth a high speed chase. You don’t do hard time for that. As it turns out, there WAS a sad story behind the incident: Lloyd’s mother revealed he suffers from schizophrenia. Whatever his legal and moral responsibilities are in this case, at the very least we should be compassionate about Lloyd’s illness and show as much support for him as fans have shown support for Carrie Fisher after she revealed she has bipolar disorder.
There’s been some discussion as to how much this has to do with bullying and the internet mob. Even though schizophrenics are more sensitive to stress and events can trigger episodes, it would be really overblown to claim the anti-prequel backlash or the crappy things fans have done gave a perfectly happy and healthy person schizophrenia. Believe me, I blame that stuff for a lot of things and while I’m sure people’s cruelty definitely didn’t make Lloyd’s life easier, nobody’s saying mean fans (and they existed) gave Fisher her mental problems either.
The system still hasn’t figured out how to handle mental illness but I hope that Lloyd can nevertheless find the help he needs to get back on track.