“It was a good gig,” recalls Law & Order: SVU actress Isabel Gillies of the 12 seasons she played Kathy Stabler on the NBC show. When she returned to the character after a 10-year hiatus, Gillis writes in a substack blog post, something had “seriously changed.”
It wasn’t the show’s stars Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni, whom Gillies called “friends and former colleagues.” It wasn’t anything to do with the production, which she fondly said was “just like the ol’ days.” No, it was the reaction on social media — which didn’t exist during her first go-around on the show.
After the episode aired, Gillies in her post describes the reaction on Twitter as follows:
My feed, which is normally pretty sleepy, a retweeted article here, a few shoutouts about a recipe there, was a stream of eye-popping-bile posts, at me! My character, the deceased Kathy Stabler, was trending on Twitter. Gliding over links and threads, memes and emojis, I started, well, crying. “KATHY STABLER IS BURNING IN THE DEEPEST PART OF HELL.” Scroll, scroll…“YOU DESERVE TO BLOW UP!” Scroll, scroll…”Good morning to absolutely everyone except Kathy Stabler’s ghost.” Scroll, scroll…”This girl is the nastiest, skank b*tch I’ve ever met!”
People were attacking Isabel Gillies the actress on her personal Twitter page as if she were Kathy Stabler the actor. Now, that type of transference has likely always gone on among fans. The difference now is that bile can now be shot directly and en masse at actors via their social media profiles.
Gillies says she called Hargitay who, unfortunately, has some experience in this realm. Her advice? Take the high road. Don’t take it personally.
In that spirit, the actress put herself in the shoes of others caught in the cultural crossfire.
“What if I were Anthony Fauci?” she wrote. “Or Jen Psaki? Or Nikki Haley?”
She then suggested we all “take it down a notch,” and proposed a method for doing so.
“There is the acronym T.H.I.N.K.” wrote Gillies, which asks us to consider the following during discourse: “Is it thoughtful? is it honest? Is it interesting? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”
T.H.I.N.K.-ing is a tall order for internet trolls, and even for “normal people” seduced by the anonymity the medium provides. But there’s no doubt more of it would improve the lives of everyone — including those who play “second-tier” characters on primetime dramas.