The new Star Wars trailer was released to much fanfare, news coverage, and social media hype Monday, and many were in a frenzy of excitement as anticipation for the actual movie soared. Reports also came in that Fandango, the ticket selling site, crashed due to an overload in ticket sales. However, not everyone was happy with the trailer, and the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII appeared and climbed to twitter’s top trend by Monday afternoon.
Many who stumbled upon the hashtag were surprised that a backlash seemed to be brewing against the movie so quickly, but, after an initial scroll though the #BoycottStarWarsVII on Twitter, it was clear to see that a much more sinister message than a potentially bad movie existed behind the trending topic. The reason for the hashtag was because J.J. Abrams new film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is just a little too multicultural for some, and they believe that the fact that several key characters in the film are people of color can be attributed to Abrams promoting “white genocide” and aiming “to demoralize and destroy Whites.” The upcoming sci-fi sequel was being dubbed by this group of racists as being anti-white, and many are calling those who founded and tweeted under the hashtag out as white supremacists.
One of the main reasons for the anger of these Star Wars boycotters and the bizarre hashtag is apparently stemming from Abrams use of 23-year-old British actor John Boyega, who is a black man, as Finn, one of the main heroes of the movie. Hatred for this stormtrooper began last November when a teaser trailer was released and a #BlackStormTrooper hashtag was born. However, the racists seemed to have taken things up a notch with the release of the full trailer. In their story about the racist tweets, The Daily Beast gave a quote from a previous Star Wars installment, a line delivered by none other than Yoda himself, that just may perfectly sum up the reason behind the racist tweets.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
One of the things that makes #BoycottStarWarsVII, and the resulting Twitter account under the same name, so very strange is the actual history of the Star Wars franchise. One of the most iconic roles in Star Wars is Darth Vader, who was voiced by James Earl Jones, and Samuel L. Jackson played the character of Mace Windu, Jedi master, in the Phantom Menace. However, those using the hashtag seemed to legitimately believe that Star Wars “belongs” exclusively to white people. The fact that the movies have not had a 99 percent Caucasian cast since 1977 sure does not seem to phase the tweeters and the trolls out for attention.
The fact that majority of the users of the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII were actually mocking it can be taken as a sign that the blatant racism behind the original message is not the stance that majority of Twitter users hold and that there is hope. The hashtag was quickly “appropriated” by users in original messages and retweets that were most definitely not in support of the original message. About 95 percent of the tweets using the #BoycottStarWarsVII only did so to express their shame and disappointment. Some were in fact quite happy that the racist boycotters would be staying in when they made their way to the cinema to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The Mirror reported that the director of Selma, Ava Duvernay started the hashtag #CelebrateStarWarsVII, and soon others caught on and began using it instead. The question of why Luke Skywalker is absent from the poster is also a big issue for fans of the show, and they hope that he has not been excluded from the new movie.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on December 18.
[Photo Courtesy of Star Wars Facebook page]