The Outer Banks star, 29, returned to Instagram on Saturday, April 30, with a lengthy message for his followers. “Look, I’ve had some time to think about things and I’ve come to a realization that the Internet can be a s–tty place, it can. But it also can be an awesome place and I’m very fortunate to have a platform of a lot of incredible people who have decided to follow along on my journey,” he said in a video on his Story. “You know what? I’m not gonna let the s–tty stuff be definitive of taking away those who decided to follow along and brought some joy in my life.”
Stokes declared that he was “not going to stop sharing the cool things that are happening in my life” or “interacting with people who actually care” just because of trolls. “If you want to sit there and say very derogatory things, or you want to bash me or my family or whatever the case may be, go for it,” he continued. “Or you could just unfollow me which is totally fine as well, really don’t give a s–t. … So, here we go, back at it.”
The Maryland native’s quick social media hiatus came in the wake of a negative response to a selfie he shared with his sister Rylie Walker in April. “Luv u @ryliewalk,” he captioned an Instagram Story at the time.
Though the picture highlighted a sweet sibling moment, not all of Stokes’ fans were happy to see it. “The fact that I can’t post a picture with my baby sister without death threats is just f–king absurd,” the Netflix star wrote in a subsequent Instagram Story. “Get a grip. Family always comes first and at the end of the day if you don’t know my sister and have the audacity to send me horrific messages then just go ahead and click that unfollow.”
After telling his followers that he “puts [his] family first” no matter what, the Tell Me Your Secrets actor hinted that he was logging off. “See you when I see you,” he concluded.
His time away from the social platform was cut short after a change of heart. “I know I said I was going to take a break, but you know what, not going to do that,” Stokes explained on Saturday. “I’m not going to let s–tty people win — and that’s sort of a life lesson, you know? Don’t let negativity be definitive of how you live your life.”
The Beach House actor, who’s currently filming season 3 of Outer Banks, went on to thank his dedicated fans for their support. “To all of you who have invested into my journey and invested into Outer Banks, all the fun things that are coming in the future, I’m very appreciative of you,” he added. “I love you guys, you guys have changed my [life and] our lives in ways we can never repay you for.”
“It would be a complete disservice for you guys to not share this stuff, whether it’s me being a complete dumbass or me being kinda not being a dumbass or any of the cool stuff that’s coming up in the future,” he concluded. “I’m excited to share it with you guys and I’m excited to continue this journey.”