“Star Wars” is telling people to keep their racist comments about a new face to its franchise out of this galaxy.
In a series of tweets, the “Star Wars” account stood behind actor Moses Ingram, who plays Reva in the new “Star Wars” series “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” This week, Ingram, who is Black, posted screenshots to her Instagram story sharing a number of racist comments she has gotten since the show premiered Friday. One said her “days are numbered”; another called her a “diversity hire.”
“We are proud to welcome Moses Ingram to the Star Wars family and excited for Reva’s story to unfold,” the “Star Wars” account tweeted Monday. “If anyone intends to make her feel in any way unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist.”
“There are more than 20 million sentient species in the Star Wars galaxy, don’t choose to be a racist,” the “Star Wars” account wrote.
A representative for Ingram did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A representative for Disney+ directed NBC News to the “Star Wars” account’s tweets.
In a video on her Instagram story, Ingram told her followers that she had been inundated with “hundreds” of hateful messages.
“I question what my purpose is even being here in front of you saying this is happening,” she said. “I think the thing that bothers me is that, like, sort of, this feeling that I’ve had inside of myself, which no one has told me, but this I just have to shut up and bear it, and I’m not built like that.”
She thanked the fans who have stuck up for her in the comments, saying their support “means the world.”
“So I really just wanted to come on, I think, and say thank you to the people who show up for me in the comments and the places that I’m not going to put myself,” she said. “And to the rest of y’all: Y’all weird.”
It is not the first time an actor of color featured in the “Star Wars” franchise has experienced hateful comments based on race.
On Tuesday, some people on social media pointed out that it appears to be the first time the franchise has come to the defense of one of its stars after such social media backlash. John Boyega, who is Black, and Kelly Marie Tran, who is Vietnamese American, got similar outpourings of negative social media reaction from “Star Wars” fans when they were cast.
Representatives for Tran and Boyega did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Disney did not immediately respond to a follow-up request for comment about previous racist comments directed at other franchise stars.
When Boyega’s casting was announced in the 2015 installment “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII trended on Twitter. Arguments about the film’s promoting “white genocide” and promoting the destruction of “whites” bubbled on the platform.
“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” Boyega, who plays Finn in the latest films in the franchise, said in a 2020 interview with GQ.
At the time, he said, “you realize, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’ Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”
Tran, who played Rose Tico, also experienced racist attacks after the release of the 2017 film “Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi.”
Boyega told GQ that Disney knew “what to do” with stars like Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, “but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f— all.”
For Tran, the backlash became so intense that she left social media.
“It was basically me being like, ‘Oh, this isn’t good for my mental health. I’m obviously going to leave this,’” Tran told The Hollywood Reporter last year.
She also wrote an op-ed in 2018 for The New York Times addressing the online trolls, titled “I Won’t Be Marginalized by Online Harassment.”
“Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other,’ that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them,” she wrote. “And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.”
However, she wrote, she then experienced “a different shame — not a shame for who I was, but a shame for the world I grew up in. And a shame for how that world treats anyone who is different.”
“This is the world I grew up in, but not the world I want to leave behind …,” she wrote. “I know that I now belong to a small group of privileged people who get to tell stories for a living, stories that are heard and seen and digested by a world that for so long has tasted only one thing. I know how important that is. And I am not giving up.”
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