Millie Bobby Brown sexualized again with Hunter Echo’s lewd comments

Millie Bobby Brown, 17, is an Emmy-nominated actress frequently lauded for her performances in film and television. The “Stranger Things” star rose to fame at just 12 years old and has spent the better part of her adolescence in the public eye. But while her childhood has been full of accolades, it has also been rife with media scrutiny, online bullying, and repeated sexualization.

The latest affront involves TikTok star Hunter Acimovic, 21, who claimed during a Livestream this week that he’d sexually “groomed” Brown, making a series of lewd comments about the young actress and employing a term that sexual violence experts say describes behaviors perpetrators use to lay the groundwork for abuse.

USA TODAY could not identify a representative for Acimovic, whose Instagram and Twitter accounts have been disabled. TikTok only allows direct messaging between friends.

It was an egregious violation, and given the age difference sparked outrage on social media in defense of Brown, who has previously opened up about the toll hypersexualization and online hate have taken on her life.

It’s unclear if Brown and Acimovic (who goes by Hunter Echo on TikTok and boasts 1.6 million followers) were ever in a relationship. However, representatives for the actress said in a statement that “Mr. Ecimovic’s remarks on social media are not only dishonest but also are irresponsible, offensive and hateful. Instead of engaging in public discourse with him through the press or on social media, we are taking action to ensure that he stops this behavior once and for all.”

Whether there’s any truth to Ecimovic’s claims, his Livestream continues the trend of sexualizing a girl who was considered under the age of consent in most states until recently. At 13, Brown was put on W magazine’s list of “Why TV Is Sexier Than Ever,” and grown men online have frequently commented on her looks. A GQ profile from 2016 called her a “very grown-up child” and remarked on the appearance of her legs.

On social media, users lambasted Ecimovic for sexualizing a minor. They condemned the public for its complicity in normalizing a culture that infuses young girls with adult sexuality while consequently punishing them for it.

“It’s all the more disturbing because of the fact that she is so young and has been sexualized from such an early age,” said Laura Palumbo, communications director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. “When someone is experiencing that kind of far-reaching sexualization – by society, by the media – it takes away some of their power and agency in sexual relationships. They can’t control the ways they’ve been sexualized, and that may impact the way others treat them.”

When Brown turned 16 last year, she posted a message on Instagram chiding the media and the public for years of mistreatment.

“The last few years haven’t been easy, I’ll admit that,” Brown wrote. “There are moments I get frustrated from the inaccuracy, inappropriate comments, sexualization, and unnecessary insults that ultimately have resulted in pain and insecurity for me.”

A report by the American Psychological Association found the sexualization of girls can contribute to “body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, depressive affect and even physical health problems in high-school-aged girls and in young women,” as well as “a societal tolerance of sexual violence.”

“Hypersexualization is considered the price girls and women have to pay for visibility,” said Juliet Williams, a professor of gender studies at UCLA. “It reinforces their positioning as sexual objects and makes their objectification feel natural and legitimate. If you need evidence of what’s wrong with hypersexualization, just look at the disgraceful, disrespectful commentary levied at (Brown).”

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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