On Sunday, comedian Elijah Daniel responded to a fan advising him to check out the movie The Hate U Give. The film directly relates to the BLM movement and protests against police brutality, since it revolves around a cop shooting an unarmed black teenager and the resulting national fallout.
Daniel responded that he loved the movie, but then questioned why Apa, who starred in the 2018 film, had not yet spoken out about the protests to his “massive young audience.”
I don’t need to post about my opinions and beliefs in order for them to be real to me. I support black lives - but I don’t feel it’s necessary to prove to people I do by posting my attendance at these protests.— KJ Apa (@kj_apa) June 15, 2020
Apa responded that he did not feel that he needed to share his opinions online to prove they were “real.”
He said that while he does support the movement, he does not think it is crucial for him to share photos of himself attending the protests.
“Posting on social media is not to ‘prove’ anything. It’s to spread awareness and give resources to your followers to help. With someone that has such a big platform, one would think to use it to make a difference,” said one person, according to Page Six.
Many people were quick to point out that Apa is one of the only Riverdale stars who has not spoken up about George Floyd’s death and the subsequent worldwide outcry against systemic racism. Cole Sprouse was even arrested at one of the protests.
Other cast members, such as Lili Reinhart and Madelaine Petsch, have repeatedly shared resources and information on their social media accounts.
Several fans also discussed Apa’s black co-star, Vanessa Morgan, who recently came forward to criticize The CW series for its poor treatment of African-American characters. She also alleged that she was the lowest-paid series regular on the cast.
Some felt that Apa should be willing to speak up in support of Morgan.
Another user shared a video clip of Morgan explaining why she felt it was important for white people to speak up.
She explained that “white supremacists” and racists are not likely to follow her or her fellow black actresses on social media. She stated that they are more likely to follow her white friends and co-stars.
“I would like to encourage all of my friends to help us out and post. Just because you may not identify with us, just because of the color of your skin, and you’re white, as you said, this is a human issue.”
While Apa has not yet tried to defend himself further, he did take to his Instagram story to share a video of Tupac Shakur speaking at an event.