Stephanie Tyler Jones, the woman behind Mary Jane Watson’s face in Insomniac’s Spider-Man games, recently said she’s received harassment from fans, including phone calls to her workplace where callers demand to speak to her. In a public post on social media, she asked these fans to stop.
In the original Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 and its subsequent ports, spin-offs, and sequel, Jones provided the face model of Peter Parker’s famous girlfriend, MJ. While Laura Bailey provided the voice of MJ, it was Jones’ face that inspired the character’s in-game model. As a result of this, Jones has become well-known in the Spider-Man community. But recently, some fans went too far, according to Jones, and started calling her day job and leaving voicemails that made her feel “unsafe” and “uncomfortable.”
On January 8, Jones posted a short, public letter on Instagram detailing what happened and asking fans to respect her boundaries and to stop messaging her about MJ and Spider-Man.
“Over the weekend, some followers crossed boundaries,” Jones said. “One even went to the extent of calling my workplace and leaving multiple voicemails wanting to speak with me and requesting I call back, which is unacceptable and considered stalking.”
While she does “appreciate” the positive reaction her version of MJ has received from players over the years, she is no longer actively auditioning, acting, or modeling. Instead, she now works in skincare, which is why, she asked fans to respect her career change and not message her skincare-focused Instagram or job.
“My skincare page is not for Spider-Man or MJ fans,” Jones posted. “Bottom line is that I came into work this morning and immediately felt unsafe and uncomfortable hearing those voicemails.”
Jones ended the letter asking for fans and players to “respect that I am a human being trying to make a living just like you” and “kindly” asked them to stop messaging her.
“Messages will not be answered,” Jones said. “I will block you if you make me feel uncomfortable and you can unfollow me if this disappoints you.”
While what happened to Jones is terrible and frustrating, it’s sadly a common occurrence in video game communities and fandoms. Players have sent harassing messages and threats to developers, voice actors, and others simply because they don’t like a game or a character. We’ve also seen Twitch streamers report stalkers from within their community, in a clear example of fans forgetting the people on-screen are humans, too. Kotaku has contacted Insomniac, PlayStation, and Jones’ former talent agency for comment.