Star Wars actor John Boyega recently sat down for an interview with Variety, where he discussed several topics, including how he deals with online trolls and vitriol. While questioning Boyega, the interviewer mentioned his Star Wars co-star Kelly Marie Tran, who left social media after falling victim to targeted racial harassment following the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Many fans took issue with his answer to the question, believing he was taking aim at Tran for being upset.
“Being in this position, you just understand the masses, how the masses think, you know,” he 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. That’s, you know, it is what it is.”
For fans, Boyega’s reply to the Variety reporter made it seem like he was calling Tran “weak” for being affected by what she read. Had the reporter not mentioned her name, it likely would have read differently.
Boyega has since taken to Twitter to clear the air, saying that he was not referring to Kelly when he spoke to Variety. He admitted that his response came out poorly worded, clarifying that he was merely speaking on behalf of his own experiences with the Star Wars fandom.
In no way was I referring to Kelly when I made my comments although the interviewer mentioned her given the topic. 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.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) December 12, 2019
Most fans on social media understood what Boyega was trying to say. Many of them remembered that he had actually defended Tran on Twitter last June. In this tweet from last year, the actor did not mention his co-star by name but told people who disliked the decisions made by the Star Wars directors that “harassing the actors/ actresses will do nothing.”
Boyega was already under fire from angry Star Wars fans this week after he spoke candidly with Hypebeast about his opinion on The Last Jedi.
“The Last Jedi, if I’m being honest I’d say that was feeling a bit iffy for me,” he said.
He went on to explain he wasn’t happy with many of the creative decisions made for the film and his character. Boyega claimed he spoke with another co-star, Mark Hamill, about his feelings at the time.
The Attack the Block actor has gained a vocal fandom in his years since joining the mega-popular franchise. Many of them came out in droves to defend him from the criticism he received over his latest interview responses.