Some fans are saying that Disney and Star Wars are guilty of a double standard after posting a public defense of Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Moses Ingram from online racism and are wondering why the company didn’t show similar solidarity for actors John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, and Ahmed Best.
While many are lauding the company’s effort to address the problems of racism within its fandom, others are framing it as “too little too late” and even accusing the company of playing up its ally-ship as a marketing stunt.
The franchise’s official Twitter account made two posts addressing racist trolls’ response to Ingram’s character on the DisneyPlus series following its premiere last week. The first stated that Star Wars was proud to welcome the actor, while the second asked fans not to choose racism in their fandom.
While both statements are admirable, some Twitter users, such as dorisaurusrex, immediately asked where such sentiment was for sequels trilogy star John Boyega, who faced a tidal wave of racist feedback when it was revealed that he would have a starring role in The Force Awakens, the first film in the new cycle. Others mentioned Tran, who faced a similar wave of racist and sexist vitriol following her role in The Last Jedi and its follow-up, The Rise of Skywalker.
Some went even farther back into the franchise’s history, bringing up the harassment Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed best faced following the release of The Phantom Menace. The hatred of his character reached such a point that Best even contemplated suicide, a fact he revealed in an interview with IndieWire. “There was just so much hate and anger and venom directed at me, and I took it personally,” best told the website. “I faced a media backlash that really made me feel like my life was over.”
Despite all of the actors’ treatment at the hands of the most terrible segments of the fan base being widely recognized and discussed, Disney and Lucasfilm both remained officially mum on the subject. This may explain why their quite correct defense of Ingram is justifiably being eyed with cynicism by many fans, including POC members of the fandom.
Some fans have outright accused the studio and parent corporation of using the current cycle after cycle of online outrage as a marketing technique without maintaining a real investment in the characters or their actors. One even described the suspected tactic as “dystopian.”
In a 2020 interview with British GQ, Boyega famously gave Disney the following advice: “do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”
While their latest Tweets may indicate that Star Wars is attempting to learn from experience, comments indicate that the franchise may have a long way to go before all of its fans trust its statements regarding race.