Lizzo is the latest celeb to take a break from Twitter

Here are celebs who've cited trolls, mental health issues, racism, sexism and fan drama as reasons to quit social media -- at least for a while.

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Bonnie Burton profile photo
Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
1 of 19 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET


Social media can be a great way for people to connect, but it can also enable bad behavior. Here's a running list of celebrities who've cited mental health issues, racism, sexism and fan drama as reasons to say sayonara to Twitter and Instagram.

On Jan. 5, singer Lizzo revealed on her Twitter account that she was taking a break after being harassed by trolls. 

"Yeah I can't do this Twitter sh*t no more... too many trolls," Lizzo tweeted. "I'll be back when I feel like it."

Previously, Lizzo was body-shamed by a Twitter user who tweeted that she was "popular because there is an obesity epidemic in America."

Lizzo was listed in December as one of former US president Barack Obama's favorite singers of 2019.

This gallery was first published on June 21, 2016, and is updated as additional celebrities take a social media break.

Elon Musk
2 of 19 CNN Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Elon Musk

On Nov. 1, 2019, technology entrepreneur, investor and engineer Elon Musk tweeted the message "Going offline" after he also tweeted on the same day, "Not sure about good of Twitter" and "Reddit still seems good."

This isn't the first time the founder of Tesla and SpaceX tweeted about wanting to take a break from Twitter. Musk said he deleted his Twitter account in June, but the account remained active.

The latest self-imposed exile didn't last long. Four days after his hiatus tweet, Musk tweeted again, this time to congratulate SpaceX on its parachute test.

3 of 19 James Wan/Instagram

James Wan

Aquaman director James Wan quit Twitter on March 16, 2019. Though Wan's Instagram is still around. 

While the director did not post a reason for his social media hiatus, it was clear in December 2018 that Wan was annoyed with fans who were trolling other fans about his Aquaman film.

4 of 19 Netflix

Will Poulter

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch actor Will Poulter announced on Jan. 2, 2019 that he's taking a break from Twitter in the interest of his mental health. 

"In light of my recent experiences I am choosing to take a step back, of sorts, from Twitter," he said, on Twitter. "As we all know there is a balance to be struck in our engagements with social media. There are positives to enjoy and inevitable negatives that are best avoided. It's a balance I have struggled with for a while now and in the interest of my mental health I feel the time has come to change my relationship with social media." 

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Lauren Hissrich

Lauren Hissrich, showrunner of Netflix's The Witcher, decided to take a Twitter break on Sept. 10, 2018. Hissrich tweeted that "it's time for a Twitter hiatus" as she works on the show. "The love here is amazing, and the hate is enlightening, like a real-life Trial of the Grasses," she tweeted, referring to a Witcher initiation ritual, "except I HAVE to read less and write more -- or we won't have a damn finale." 

The social media hiatus came after a racist backlash from fans over a casting call that suggested a white character named Ciri would be changed to a woman of color. 

Scott Derrickson
6 of 19 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Scott Derrickson

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson left Twitter in July 2018, but returned to the platform on Sept 10. A pinned tweet (from 2017) reads "Twitter is hell." 

While Derrickson didn't publicly say why he temporarily quit Twitter earlier this year, he did leave shortly after Marvel fired Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn over controversial jokes Gunn tweeted back in 2008. Upon returning to Twitter after a couple of months off, Derrickson tweeted: "The world is an unspeakably horrible yet incomprehensibly meaningful place. I won't waste my time here shouting into a void." He ended the tweet with an Aristotle quote: "We are what we repeatedly do."

7 of 19 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Wil Wheaton

Star Trek and Big Bang Theory actor Wil Wheaton deactivated his Twitter account on Aug. 17, 2018 for #DeactiDay -- a movement to encourage Twitter users to deactivate their accounts either temporarily or permanently, in protest of Twitter's lack of action again racism and abusive information, specifically from Alex Jones.  

Wheaton's last tweet on Aug. 15: "Twitter is broken. You deserve better than an app that tolerates and welcomes the spreading of abuse and misinformation. Being part of this is not doing us any good. Personally, politically, socially. For a day, a week, forever: your call. It's just a good time to go."

8 of 19 Niko Tavernise

Ruby Rose

John Wick: Chapter 2 actor Ruby Rose quit Twitter on Aug. 12, 2018 following a social media backlash against her joining The CW Network's Arrowverse TV shows as Batwoman

Kelly Marie Tran
9 of 19 Lucasfilm

Kelly Marie Tran

Star Wars actor Kelly Marie Tran deleted the posts on her Instagram account in 2018. She left only a bio message that reads, "Afraid, but doing it anyway," and an Ewok emoji at the end. Tran's recent Instagram departure followed harassment from people who were angry over her role as Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Even though Tran has yet to return to social media, her supporters showed their appreciation of her work by posting fan art of her Rose Tico character.  On Aug. 21, 2018, Tran wrote in a New York Times editorial about waging her own battle against harassment -- both online and in real life: "It wasn't their words, it's that I started to believe them," she wrote.

Millie Bobby Brown
10 of 19 Netflix

Millie Bobby Brown

Stranger Things actor Millie Bobby Brown deleted her Twitter account on June 14, 2018 after people used her photo in internet memes depicting her as homophobic. 

11 of 19 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Dan Harmon

TV show creator Dan Harmon, co-creator of Rick and Morty, deleted his Twitter account account on July 23, 2018 after a decade-old video depicting him molesting a baby doll resurfaced.

Daisy Ridley
12 of 19 Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Daisy Ridley

Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley quit Instagram in 2017, saying she found social media interaction to be "bad for her mental health."

13 of 19 Paramount Pictures

Simon Pegg

The Star Trek actor Simon Pegg quit Twitter in 2014 to concentrate more on his work and less on chatting or arguing with fans, though his PR team continues to post updates on his projects. "I haven't been enjoying it for a while now," Pegg wrote on his blog. "There hasn't been a specific incident and the reasons are various. Ultimately, I think we've just grown apart. What I'm saying is,' it's not you, it's me.'"

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Hayley Atwell

Agent Carter actress Hayley Atwell quit Twitter and Instagram in 2015 so she could keep her life more private. "Thanks for following! Leaving Twitter now. It's been a blast," Atwell wrote in her last tweet.

15 of 19 FX

Louis C.K.

Comedian and actor Louis C.K. quit Twitter in 2015 and then quit checking the internet altogether in 2016, saying that being online all the time made him feel bad about himself. "I don't like the way it feels anymore," he told Conan O'Brien in an interview. "Especially in my hand. The devices, I don't like this thing, that I stare into this thing."

16 of 19 Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

British actor and author Stephen Fry temporarily quit Twitter in February 2016. "I have indeed deactivated my Twitter account," Fry wrote on his blog. "The pool is stagnant. It is frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish. If you don't watch yourself, with every move you'll end up being gashed, broken, bruised or contused. Even if you negotiate the sharp rocks you'll soon feel that too many people have peed in the pool for you to want to swim there any more. The fun is over."  

The noted tech geek returned to Twitter five months later to promote his latest TV projects and charities he supports. 

17 of 19 Hollywood Records

Demi Lovato

Singer and actress Demi Lovato quit Twitter and Instagram in 2016 after getting fed up with trolls. She urged them to "pay more attention to good than bad." But luckily she returned to the social media platform and tweeted, "I'm back.... And I'm coming back more honest than ever."

18 of 19 Jay Maidment/Marvel

Joss Whedon

Avengers director Joss Whedon -- best known for his hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly -- quit Twitter in 2015. "Twitter is an addictive little thing," Whedon told Buzzfeed, "and if it's there, I gotta check it. When you keep doing something after it stops giving you pleasure, that's kind of rock bottom for an addict. I just had a little moment of clarity where I'm like, You know what? If I want to get stuff done, I need to not constantly hit this thing for a news item or a joke or some praise, and then be suddenly sad when there's hate and then hate and then hate." But he returned in 2016 to Twitter in order to voice his opinions on politics and Donald Trump.

19 of 19 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Neil Gaiman

Author Neil Gaiman hit the snooze button on his social-media accounts for six months in 2014 to concentrate more on "making things up." Gaiman has yet to completely quit social media, but he does take long periodic breaks from Twitter to focus more on some of his many projects which include comics, books and TV shows. 

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