The Internet is supposed to have broken down walls, especially between the famous and regular folks. And it has supposedly democratized fame itself. Everyone has followers and a thousand pictures of themselves. Reality shows make stars out of previously unlikely candidates like housewives, little people, and Jersey Shore renters. Media people call this “disruption” and the prime example has been Taylor Swift. In a previous era, a performer like Taylor Swift would want to be on the cover of the New York Times magazine — that way she’d get exposure to a big broad audience. But these days Swift has more than 60 million followers on Instagram alone, while 26 million people follow the New York Times on Twitter. The calculus is switched: the Times hopes Swift tells her fans about one of its articles as much as Swift wants to be on the cover of the Times magazine.
So the wall that used to be guarded by mainstream media is broken, as was promised. But Prison Break star Wentworth Miller is among those who have walked bravely on the shards of the wall and spoken to fans with a directness that was previously unthinkable. (Demi Lovato, too, has trailblazed here.) Miller took to Facebook this week to talk about how he was “fat-shamed” and how he was suicidal, despite his fame and success. He crossed this line, exposing himself, so that others in his position — but without the benefits of fame and money — might find their own way to mental safety. Miller stood on the rocks of the fallen wall and screamed a virtual “I am you” to all those out there suffering with mental troubles. And he told them who to call for help. And he told them it was okay to do it, that someone cares and is waiting. Wentworth Miller broke out of his own prison — and he has the courage to show others the way. Maybe even Taylor Swift will share Miller’s voice with her fans.