Jonah Hill has announced he will no longer take part in promoting his films due to his mental health issues being exacerbated by media appearances and public-facing events.
The 38-year-old actor revealed his plan in an open letter published by Deadline ahead of the debut of his new documentary, Stutz, which he directed. The film is about Hill’s relationship with his therapist Phil Stutz, who Hill began seeing in 2017 at the recommendation of fellow actor Joaquin Phoenix. In the film Hill and his therapist discuss his mental health.
“Through this journey of self-discovery within the film, I have come to the understanding that I have spent nearly 20 years experiencing anxiety attacks, which are exacerbated by media appearances and public facing events,” Hill wrote.
He said the “whole purpose” of making Stutz was to “give therapy and the tools I’ve learned in therapy to a wide audience for private use through an entertaining film”.
Hill said that while he was looking forward to audiences seeing the film, “you won’t see me out there promoting this film, or any of my upcoming films, while I take this important step to protect myself. If I made myself sicker by going out there and promoting it, I wouldn’t be acting true to myself or to the film.
“I usually cringe at letters or statements like this but I understand that I am of the privileged few who can afford to take time off. I won’t lose my job while working on my anxiety. With this letter and with Stutz, I’m hoping to make it more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff. So they can take steps towards feeling better and so that the people in their lives might understand their issues more clearly.”
Hill’s decision is reminiscent of that made by tennis player Naomi Osaka a year ago, when she declared she would not take part in mandatory press conferences during the 2021 French Open due to reporters’ questions impacting her mental health. Osaka has since spoken about hiring a therapist for the first time and has resumed conducting some press conferences.
Earlier this week, Spider-Man actor Tom Holland announced he would be stepping away from social media as he had found it was “detrimental” to his mental health.
In a video posted to his Instagram account, which has 67 million followers, the 26-year-old said: “I find Instagram and Twitter to be overstimulating, to be overwhelming. I get caught up and I spiral when I read things about me online and ultimately it’s very detrimental to my mental state. So I decided to take a step back and delete the app.”
Other stars including Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, Camila Cabello and Demi Lovato have also taken themselves off social media for their mental health.
On Sunday, 72-year-old British actor Robert Lindsay announced he was intending to spend less time on Twitter, after his son told him it was “affecting my daily life, thoughts and imaginings”.
“He’s right of course and I need to detox from the stresses of social media and concentrate on what I set out to do three years ago and write,” the My Family actor wrote.
In Australia, support is available at Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14, and at MensLine on 1300 789 978. In the UK, the charity Mind is available on 0300 123 3393 and Childline on 0800 1111. In the US, Mental Health America is available on 800-273-8255