John Boyega is issuing an apology for comments he made over how to deal with racist internet trolls, which many believed to be a jab at his Star Wars co-star Kelly Marie Tran.
The 27-year-old actor took to Twitter Thursday (December 12) to clarify what he meant during a recent interview with Variety in which he claimed that a person is “weak” if they “believe in every single thing that you read.”
Tran, who plays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, received racist comments in 2018 regarding her Vietnamese nationality and because she was the first woman of color to be cast in a leading role in a Star Wars movie. As a result of the vitriol, she ended up deleting all of her social media accounts.
When asked about fan backlash, including what happened to Tran, by Variety, Boyega said, “Through social media, we get to engage, we get to have fun. But at the same time, for those who are not mentally strong, you are weak to believe in every single thing that you read.”
He continued, “That’s, you know, it is what it is. I don’t know, for me anyway, when I see that [backlash], I’m like, well, that’s actually not true. But no, it is actually not true. So it’s kind of like [shrugs] it is what it is. But to engage, to connect with the fans who otherwise wouldn’t get a day to day experience, especially during things like the press tour, and behind the scenes stuff, is always good.”
After fans pointed out that his comments sounded like a slight at his Star Wars co-star, Boyega apologized via Twitter. “In no way was I referring to Kelly when I made my comments although the interviewer mentioned her given the topic,” he wrote. “I was really speaking from my own perspective throughout this franchise. Sometimes I’ve felt strong and sometimes I’ve felt weak. Badly worded though. I apologize.”
“My comments on Kelly specifically and online harassment remains the same via a tweet I put out a few years ago,” he added in a separate tweet.
When The Last Jedi was released and Kelly faced racist cyberbullying by so-called fans, Boyega defended her by tweeting, “If you don’t like Star Wars or the characters understand that there are decisions makers and harassing the actors/actresses will do nothing. You’re not entitled to politeness when your approach is rude. Even if you paid for a ticket!”
The latest film in the franchise, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is in theaters now.