If you do a little digging online, you’ll find a whole subset of fans who adore 14-year-old Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard. The Wolfhard fandom is vast, thanks to his star-making role as Mike in the Netflix sci-fi/horror show. But some adult fans are taking their love of the child actor a little too far, including model Ali Michael, whose recent “joke” calling out the tiny teen has a lot of people shaking their heads in disbelief.
“Not to be weird but hit me up in 4 years,” Michael wrote in an Instagram story, tagging the teen. Immediately, fans took to the internet to share their disbelief and dismay that a 27-year-old would make a joke about a 14-year-old coming of age at 18.
With Michael quick to retract her original post with a statement, it’s hard to see the comedy in hypersexualizing a 14-year-old child, regardless of what you might think the intent is. She followed up on Tuesday to apologize.
“Hi, yesterday I posted a picture of Mike from Stranger Things and wrote ‘Call me in 4 years,’” Michael wrote on her IG stories. “It was completely absolutely a joke but I understand that people have been offended by it. It was wrong to joke about and I apologize. I do not want Mike from Stranger Things to call me. I hope this clears things up.”
This isn’t the first time Wolfhard has been hypersexualized by adults, sadly. After the release of the horror smash IT earlier this year, moviegoers were quick to post inappropriate remarks about the entire cast of the movie, with at least one person going as far as to call one of the teens “daddy.”
It shouldn’t take a negative reaction to understand that hypersexual comments or jokes about underage children, in any capacity, aren’t funny, never mind in the era of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. As author Clara Popp points out in Affinity Magazine, the very idea of waiting for a child to come of age in order to engage in a romantic relationship with them is a roundabout way of accepting that sexual attraction to children is something acceptable when it absolutely is not.
While Wolfhard has taken a strong stance against abuse in his industry with his recent firing of his agent after assault allegations were raised earlier this month, it’s time his “fans” took a lesson from the star and began speaking to and about kids with more respect.
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(Photo via Steve Granitz/WireImage)