Because the upcoming Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens features lead actors and love interests of different races, and because director J.J. Abrams is Jewish, a Twitter hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII has hit the social media circuit alongside such assertions as #WhiteGenocide, #WhiteLivesMatter and other racially charged sentiments such as #StopAppropriatingWhiteCulture.
Actor John Boyega plays a black storm trooper in the new movie, and first started getting racially charged commentary when the first trailer was released back in November 2014 on YouTube. The trailer, which now has well over 72 million hits, generated 20 million views in the first 24 hours.
Shortly after the racist comments began in 2014, Boyega released an Instagram post thanking fans for the love and support, yet also added “To whom it may concern… Get used to it. :)”
An Instagram post from John Boyega - Screen Capture
Director J.J. Abrams has been a vocal supporter of increased diversity in films and television for years.
In a February 2013 interview on the By The Way podcast with Jeff Garlin, Abrams spoke about creating a television show for Warner Brothers and his perspective on the diversity, or lack thereof, in Hollywood.
“...having been to the Emmys a couple times — you look around that room and you see the whitest fucking room in the history of time. It’s just unbelievably white. And I just thought, we’re casting this show and we have an opportunity to do anything we want, why not cast the show with actors of color? Like not for sure, and if we can’t find the actors who are great, we shouldn’t, but why don’t we make that effort because it wasn’t written that way and isn't that the cooler version of doing this as opposed to saying ‘this is an urban show’. It fucking kills me when they call something ‘an urban movie’ like it’s a separate thing, like ‘it's that thing over there.”
Though many comments support the Star Wars movie boycott, other feel opposition to it.
Boyega has responded to critics of Star Wars diversity in other forums. In a panel discussion earlier this year he said his role as the lead character, Finn, is a big step away from stereotypical roles black actors have been forced to take over the years.
“All the films I’ve done have had a secret commentary on stereotypical mentalities,” he said to thewrap.com. “It’s about getting people to drop a prejudiced state of mind and realize, ‘Oh shit we’re just watching normal people.”
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