Michael Muhney is an actor, who currently stars on The Young and the Restless. He is one of the show’s best assets, not only because he has definite charisma, but also dramatic talent, as well as some comic skills.
He is also interesting off screen. He has a strong Twitter presence, and engages intensely with his fans and detractors. Recently, he unfollowed his Y&R costars as well as some of his critics. Two or three months ago, he was considering not posting anymore on social media because of threats against his family. People, especially when it comes to soap operas, confuse the actor with the character. Muhney’s character, Adam Newman, has performed a variety of controversial criminal acts, such as gaslighting a pregnant woman.
Muhney has also been outspoken in his criticism of the process used to decide which actors receive Daytime Emmys. For example, Tony Geary has won Best Lead Actor on a record 7 occasions. No one has won nearly that many Academy Awards. Muhney seems to care deeply about the daytime genre, and wants to improve its credibility. He posits that revamping the Daytime Emmys is one way to achieve this goal. Because he is outspoken, of course, the number of his potential detractors increase substantially.
The reason why I am writing this blog, however, is because of the vehement criticism Muhney receives for many of his Twitter posts.
For the record, I follow him on my Twitter account, flirtycatherine, and I have to be honest, I see nothing at all wrong with his tweets. They range from playful and goofy, which show his sense of humour, to matters of interest to daytime audiences, such as the aformentioned opinions he holds about the Emmys. He also often praises his costars.
Muhney, in order to deliver the artistic performances he regularly achieves on his show, obviously must have a profound creative imagination. That is true of all artists. He has to be sensitive, or how else would he be able to share in a communicable way the honest emotions of the character he portrays? How can he hope to make a villain sympathetic without having that unique understanding of human nature that actors especially must possess? The answer is, he can’t. His critics who rebuke him for being a ‘drama queen’ on Twitter should praise instead the sensitivity which frame his remarkable performances. He makes specific acting choices on a regular basis in a genre when many actors phone in their performances. He should be commended, not criticized.
Social media is a platform that thrives on bullying. My own experience on Facebook is that if people disagree with you, they immediately type you a comment. If they agree, they think, “I agree with that,” and then move on without actually registering their approval in written fashion. When it comes to television, people can be remarkably cruel in their assessment of an actor. They not only critique the performance, but they also find it necessary to discuss the actor’s physical characteristics. They compete for an ungiven ‘best insult’ award. On Facebook, I have had to request that people do not bother commenting unless they have something positive to say. It has worked to a large extent, but not completely. The thing is, arguing with someone offline or online accomplishes nothing. Instead of writing a negative comment to someone you don’t like, or whose comment you don’t like, take the time to write a positive comment on the wall (or Twitter profile) of someone who words you approve.
Muhney is someone who creates. The people who write negative comments to him, to me, to anyone else on the internet, destroy. That is what they are best at. The reason I have thought a lot about this subject is because it can be very depressing to constantly be torn apart. Although words whisper, while actions scream, a whispered insult can wreak havoc on someone’s self esteem. And if someone has been bullied, they not only register the current insult, but they also remember every other negative thing they have ever heard about themselves.
In my book, Melisande’s Lingerie Closet, which is coming out soon, I examine the life of a fictitious star named Melisande de Saulnier. It’s a political satire who pokes fun at celebrities who think they know everything about politics, but it is also a sympathetic look at how different artists are. Melisande, the heroine, is sensitive like Muhney, like me, and a lot of other creative people. The first part of the book can be found at https://jaclynhollandstrauss.com/my-writing/melisandes-lingerie-closet/. Our strengths and weaknesses are often intertwined; they can help us lead better lives and they can simultaneously destroy us. It makes sense to me that we should associate with those who appreciate our contribution to society, and try to forget those who do not share our vision. I am not saying we should constantly surround themselves with yes-men, but if someone feels it necessary to criticize someone like Muhney, let it be someone with whom he has already built an effective relationship of trust. He is not going to listen to some random nut on the internet. No one is going to change their behaviour for a stranger, because the effort needed to sustain that change does not correspond to the payoff, if it is just a stranger criticizing us.
Mr. Muhney will probably not read these words, but if he does, I hope he does not mind that I have discussed him like this. However, I think I get him, because I consider myself creative, just as I consider him to have the same quality. And his story is not unique. Bullying on the internet takes place all the time, and the victim can have a regular job, or the victim can be a celebrity. Muhney seems to have a happy home life; he’s good looking; he’s successful; he probably makes a fairly good salary. He is ripe to be the victim of jealousy. That might be one reason for the criticism levied against him. I’m reminded of the expression, “It’s the best fruit the birds pick at.”
I hope that we can become more tolerant in the online community, and remember: It is a lot more rewarding for everyone concerned if you write something positive about someone you appreciate, rather than waste your time belittling someone for something you don’t approve of.