Ed Sheeran has always danced to the beat of a different drummer.
Growing up he was admittedly a “very very very weird child.” He had a terrible stutter that plagued him from a very young age, after having a port-wine birthmark removed from his face without anesthetic.
He wore blue glasses the size of his face itself, and always struggled to bridge the gap between knowing what to say, and not knowing how to express it correctly. (Lucky for us, he figured that one out pretty well through music.)
He calls it weird, but I would argue that almost everyone silently goes through similar struggles of their own. Some are just better at hiding them than others. But we shouldn’t have to.
Of course, these days, Ed is one of the most popular artists on the planet. His lyrical genius has him topping almost every relevant chart known to man, and the once-awkward child from Hebden Bridge, U.K., is a world-renowned musician.
But as Ed Sheeran reminded us this week, it doesn’t matter how successful you are, or how many people love you. There will always be losers hiding behind the security of their computer screen, trying to bring you down.
The only thing is—this time it worked.
Ed told The Sun UK that he recently quit Twitter because of the constant stream of vile comments that filled his feeds.
“I’ve actually come off Twitter completely,” he said. “I can’t read it. I go on it and there’s nothing but people saying mean things. Twitter’s a platform for that. One comment ruins your day. But that’s why I’ve come off it.”
Ed says it’s messed with his head—trying to figure out “why people dislike me so much.”
His decision to become the “Twitter Quitter” has drawn massive attention from fans and peers alike, prompting Lady Gaga to stand up for the “Shape of You” singer on Instagram.
In a post to the social media platform on Tuesday, Gaga shared a selfie of her and Ed, with a heartfelt message to her fans, who have been particularly unkind to him on social media.
“What an incredible, talented artist. I LOVE ED @teddysphotos deserves all our love and respect like all humans do. I wish all people on the internet would be positive and loving and apart of creating an online community that is kind and empowering, not hateful and mean. No reason to tear down an artist simply because they are on top. Work harder to be kinder everybody. That should be your first duty to humanity.”
The attacks from Gaga’s “little monsters” are believed to be the result of a radio interview in which Ed negatively alluded a reference to the “Born This Way” legend.
“I do not want to be the kind of artist who has had two successful albums and then feels invincible…You’ve seen them become the biggest artists in the world, and then suddenly they will say, ‘I know everything!’ And just after, they are no longer at the top,” he said in the interview. “The smartest thing to do is listen to people who know I do not want to do the Super Bowl years later, after my biggest success, just to prove I’m still relevant.”
Whether or not his comment was directed at Gaga, most anyone can agree that the subliminal message was not worthy of such demeaning backlash.
Ed has proven to remain down-to-earth throughout his unfathomable fame—often performing free shows in the name of “kids whose daddies can’t afford to buy tickets,” like his couldn’t growing up.
He credits his chart-topping song “Thinking Out Loud”—which went triple platinum in the U.K. alone—to his childhood friend Amy Wadge, who co-wrote it with him. She was going through financially tough times, and the hit song wound up paying off her mortgage and will now support her and her family for the rest of their lives.
Plus, we can’t forget the incredible work Ed has done with Red Nose Day U.K. Traveling to Liberia, raising money to end childhood poverty and even filming a video for “What Do I Know” while there, to raise further awareness.
He’s a good dude, and regardless of his accolades and celebrity, nobody deserves to have to hide from the virtual world because people are better at being mean to each other than they are kind.
It’s beautiful to see Ed and Gaga teaming up to become united against the cyberbullies. May their quest to spread kindness turn into a campaign for change, and truly start to change the way people abuse the screens they hide behind.