Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.

Maine “Firestarter” Premiere 1984

In my personal quest to master and understand Reddit, I recently stumbled upon this photo in a thread.  I was skimming through posts on the generic topic of “Maine” and was startled when a 9-year-old Drew Barrymore popped up.

An almost eerie yet classy photo took over the screen showing a 9-year-old Drew Barrymore lighting the cigarette of the infamous Stephen King. While the black-and-white photograph may be 38 years old, there’s no mistaking who the two subjects are.

The 1984 film “Firestarter” is a science-fiction horror film based on King’s novel. Barrymore plays a young girl who can set fire with her mind, hence the name.

The Disputed Photograph

The photo shows American author Stephen King bending down on a knee while child actress Drew Barrymore lights his cigarette with a match. Barrymore, although only 9 years old, looks like a mature adult with a sure look on her face, which for a second convinces you the photo is ‘normal’.

My first reaction to the photograph was, “this is cool as hell”, thinking they both looked like classy bosses in the old photograph. The comments on Reddit disagree.

There are 158 comments on the post and the vast majority of them are actually negative. What I originally thought was a normal and fascinating photo seems to be problematic and the commenters are upset.

Valid points are made that I completely understand, pointing to the sad reality of child actresses being taken advantage of and being forced to mature too quickly. Comments are made about the exploitation of the young actress and how it is old-school trauma in photo form.

I understand the sentiment but with this photo, the whole story isn’t captured. It’s just a snapshot in time. Sure, a 9-year-old shouldn’t be lighting a man’s cigarette, but it was 1984.

What are your thoughts?

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