It’s bad enough to have to remember the disaster that was Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, but thanks to a USA Today piece that suggests Anakin Skywalker was a “workplace predator,” we’re going to have to defend the lame movie.
After a recent viewing to prepare for the upcoming sequel The Last Jedi, and with heightened awareness of the sexual harassment protests of the #MeToo movement, opinion writer Hayden Frye saw the film in a brand new light: “I realized that Anakin Skywalker (even before overtly becoming evil) was a sexual predator in the workplace!”
In the second George Lucas prequel, Padawan Skywalker is assigned to protect Sen. Padme Amidala from assassination during his training to become a Jedi, but winds up expressing his young love for her. The two had met when Anakin was just a child in Episode I - The Phantom Menace. By Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Anakin and Padme are married and pregnant, with twins Luke and Leia, before Anakin gives into the dark side, murders children, and eventually becomes Darth Vader. Child murder aside, Frye hones in on what he interprets as a problematic courtship-style of the soon-to-be-Sith with claims that he forced (no pun intended) himself on his beloved.
Frye takes readers through four “strikes” perpetrated by Anakin as he attempts to woo Padme while on duty and alone with the galactic senator (summarized below):
Skywalker… begins crossing professional and personal boundaries as soon as he’s alone with her… making inappropriate advances… he insists on harassing Amidala for the duration of the film, making her feel, at turns, uncomfortable and unsafe.
Even during meals, Skywalker is relentless… he uses this polite discussion as an opportunity to pounce… Skywalker is telling an elected official, who is obligated to be in his presence, that he has been dreaming about her… It’s an unhealthy obsession — not anything close to love… she has no choice but to stay with Skywalker, who is at turns her protector and her predator.
Skywalker… in front of an assortment of nobility and elected officials, [throws] a tantrum and assert[s] his dominance by telling her that he’s “in charge of security.”
Later, when they’re alone, Skywalker decides to confront her with his feelings. He tells her that since they met (when he was a child), “a day hasn’t gone by when I haven’t thought of you.”
That’s just plain creepy!
Then he places the blame on her — because of course a woman can’t exist professionally without it threatening some self-centered man. He tells her, “You are in my very soul, tormenting me. What can I do?” Um, how about realize this is a you problem and let Amidala live her life?
Frye argues that had only the Jedi Council removed Anakin from The Order — and with force powers, surely they knew he was harassing Padme on the job — things would be much different and perhaps the galaxy would've been free from bad guys. (This is perhaps Frye's most offensive suggestion. Because without Darth Vader and the original trilogy — or at least A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back — most of our childhoods would be ruined.)
Skywalker's role in the destruction of the Jedi Order and the establishment of the Galactic Empire is the impetus for the ensuing movies in the franchise. There would be no bad guys in a majority of the films if the Jedi Order had removed a workplace predator from their ranks.
While this may have happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, it deserves to be called out now. By allowing a predator in the workplace, and not doing enough to fight sexual harassment, the Jedi Council ultimately engineers its own demise.
Maybe if the Jedi were more concerned with gender equality, and less concerned with balancing the force, then they would still be around today.
Is Frye, a millennial “communications specialist in Washington D.C.,” really this tightly wound? According to his Twitter feed, this piece is supposed to be taken as satire… maybe. Most readers are confused and view his hot take as-is. However, he claims, “It’s supposed to be funny,” with added wink emoticon for added doubt:
Frye retweeted this confused reader:
But this retweet is probably closest to the truth:
In the end, some just aren't buying Frye's poor satire excuse: