After the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers, many people have taken to social media to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which “aims to bring justice, healing, and freedom to black people across the globe.” In what appeared to be a gesture of solidarity, Birtwistle posted a photo of himself, Dyke, who is black, and another one of their co-stars, Bryce Hirschberg. In the photo’s caption, Birtwistle said he was done standing on the sidelines and he was now prepared to “stand with you, side by side against racism.”
The post clearly did not sit well with Dyke, who challenged Birtwistle in the post’s comment section.
“Side by side?” Dyke wrote. “When I’ve asked you to share a video speaking out against injustice and racism. You read and ignore that message, but then post a photo with me (without having prior asked for my permission) like some POSTER Boy claiming you stand with me?”
Dyke went on to say that he called Birtwistle to discuss the issue, but the conversation was futile. He said Birtwistle called him “petty” and pretended like he couldn’t understand where Dyke was coming from.
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Earlier the same day, Birtwistle shared a post from another black cast member, Sharron Townsend, who said he felt he needed to use his platform to combat injustices. Still, despite Birtwistle’s attempt at lending his support to the black community, Dyke remained convinced it was all a ploy to earn more likes and followers on his account.
“DO NOT use me to further your social media gains and to get likes, DO NOT use this movement of #blacklivesmatter because it’s a trending # to you.”
The kerfuffle between the men did not stop there. Dyke went on to add that he had previously informed Birtwistle about his discomfort about the post, but his comment was deleted. Birtwistle has since removed the entire post, replacing it with an image stating that he prioritizes equality. He also posted a black square to his Instagram profile to participate in #blackouttuesday.
“I don’t profess to get it. I don’t profess to understand. I haven’t had to live through it. But equality should be a constant. I support equality,” Birtwistle captioned the new post.