Zach Braff is a 45-year-old actor, most beloved for his starring role on the medical comedy, Scrubs.
His girlfriend, Florence Pugh, is much, much younger than he is.
Florence is a 24-year-old British actress.
She and the Scrubs alum were first noticed as an item about one year ago.
Their 21-year-age gap has incited fury among some fans, who leave nasty comments calling Zach all sorts of names.
The accusations that he is a predator or a groomer were so intense that Florence had to turn off replies to this innocuous photo.
“I will not allow that behavior on my page. I’m not about that,” Florence lectured her followers in an Instagram video.
She expressed: “It makes me upset.”
“It makes me sad that during this time when we really all need to be together,” she lamented.
Florence affirmed: “We need to be supporting one another, we need to be loving one another.”
“The world is aching and the world is dying,” Florence pointed out, “and a few of you decided to bully for no reason.”
“I’m 24-years-old. I have been working since I was 17-years-old. I have been earning money since I was 17-years-old,” she said.
“I became an adult when I was 18-years-old,” Florence asserted, “and I started paying taxes when I was 18-years-old.”
While we all know that people continue to mature for many years after turning 18, surely a 24 year old is old enough to date another adult … right?
“The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you’re throwing at me,” Florence stated.
“And,” she expressed, “I don’t want those followers… I don’t want that on my page.”
“It’s embarrassing, it’s sad, and I don’t know when cyber bullying became trendy,” Florence lamented.
Unfortunately for Florence and for Zach, the motivations behind the barrage of hate are a little more complicated than that.
Ultimately, the hate that she and Zach (but mostly Zach) are receiving comes from a place that is well-meaning, if not necessarily good.
There are a lot of powerful men in the entertainment business and beyond who love to use their wealth and fame to get much younger girlfriends.
Some actors are infamous for dating and discarding younger models and only younger models.
Worse, some take things further, grooming underage women as a “friend” only to “suddenly” begin a relationship when they get just old enough.
But enough about Drake.
What the critics attacking Florence seem to lack is nuance, abandoning it in favor of the human desire for orthodoxy.
For example, an older actor dating a college student is not the same as an actor who dates three people that age in a row.
Sometimes, two consenting adults just have an age gap. It’s only creepy if they knew them as a minor, or if they only date the very young.
If we look at Zach Braff’s dating history, Shiri Appleby is 41 years old.
Taylor Bagley is a grown woman in her 30s. Younger than Zach, sure, but only by a little over a decade.
Drew Barrymore and Kirsten Dunst and Mandy Moore are older still — these are women who were on TV when I was a kid.
Zach is a far cry from Leonardo DiCaprio, let alone someone worse like Drake or Woody Allen.
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