Tom Holland is taking the press to task over how his social media hiatus was covered in the media.

On the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast, Tom described his frustration over how his candidness about sobriety, his mental health and his decision to step away from social media was sensationalized.


He pointed to the coverage of his announcement to step away from social media, specifically, as something that was particularly problematic for him, saying it was inspired by a realization he had while working.

He described the demand that came with playing Danny Sullivan in The Crowded Room, saying:

"I was having a really hard time with the job just because of how taxing it was, the emotional capacity that I was having to get to every day, and I decided to delete my Instagram because I just felt like I was so addicted to this kind of false version of my life that it was just taking over."

He went on to say that he would often scroll through social media while on break on set and that it was “becoming a problem”, adding that he was “just obsessed with it.”

It wasn’t just that he had been spending a lot of time on social media, he pointed out. It was that his particular fascination was with what people were saying.


He described making an announcement, which many celebrities are required to do, either by an agency or whatever production they may be working on, or sometimes just to appease fans, and said he was disappointed by the negative treatment and coverage of his decision.

"I tried to position myself and say like, 'I'm taking a break from social media because I feel like my mental health will benefit from it.' And the thing that really upset me is the press ran with that and they tried to make out that I was having this mental breakdown. And what upset me was if I was having a mental breakdown, that's not for you to report on."

It’s interesting to hear Tom speak so candidly not only about what he was experiencing that pushed him to want a break from social media, but his frustration over how it was received and redistributed by the press. Only recently have male celebrities broken free from the idea they need to remain tight-lipped about the impact of how they are represented in the media has on them, so kudos to him for being honest. 


It’s safe to say that the very first assumption or implication when any celebrity takes a step back from social media is that it’s tied to mental health. And in many cases, it is. We’ve heard the stories of Chrissy Teigen, Constance Wu, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande all stepping away from social media platforms – but for men, it hasn’t always been the case that we see them retreat. 

Some celebrities tend to lay low on social media after a PR disaster has taken place. Remember when Hilaria Baldwin basically lied about her Spanish heritage? Alec Baldwin announced he was vacating Twitter shortly after that, chalking it up to the platform “not being much of a party”. 

But for a ton of other celebrities, the reason genuinely has been to preserve their mental health. Women like Lizzo and Leslie Jones have suffered extreme racist taunts online, as well as horrific body shaming. But it’s hard to stay away for too long, especially when you’re famous, and the assumption is that it’s all par for the course.

The thing is, celebrities are under a tremendous amount of pressure by their agencies, productions and fans to remain active, because activity often equates to relevance when you’re a celebrity, never mind that they are often contractually obligated to promote projects on social media. So it makes sense that one of the best ways to ensure your name remains in the public, other than continuously work on shows and movies, is to have a social media presence, and an active one at that. 


So much of the news we get, even here at LG, is based on what’s happening in the world of social media. The story I wrote recently about Keke Palmer and her son’s dad, for instance, was a huge story. It was on CNN! And it didn’t come out of some moment that happened at an award show or some flub during a live interview. It happened on Twitter. The story I wrote about Drake’s nail polish? The backlash only came because he posted photos of himself with painted nails on social media.

That’s the thing about these platforms – it gives everyday people proximity and access to celebrities in ways we haven’t had before. We’re not just sitting around waiting for paparazzi photos to appear online or in magazines. We can tune into their lives at any point in time, and depending on how much they share, get fairly up-to-date information on what they’re up to, see inside their homes and meet their family members and friends. 


I’m not a celebrity by any measure, but I am very active on social media and it does get exhausting. I’ve recently started sharing content on TikTok. A video I made recently about red flags I noticed on a first date garnered over 200,000 views in 24 hours, but in the process, acquired the attention of a lot of men that clearly hate women. I can’t tell you how much time I spent responding to comments as they came in. When I could no longer keep up, I tucked my phone away and let them have at it. Who cares what they say? But somewhere, deep down inside, I did care. So I really, truly understand where Tom is coming from.

Men like Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber, who have found themselves in the same camp as Tom, have also taken their time away from social platforms. And as I wrote last year, so many more celebrities are becoming more outspoken about their mental health and the negative impacts social media can have on it. I respect Tom so much for asserting his narrative over why he took a break. Has it made a difference for trolls who insist on continuing to abuse celebrities online? No. But there is progress.