John Boyega has called on Hollywood film studios to better support their actors who become targets for racist and sexist online abuse.
Boyega has been vocal about his own experience with racist fans after he starred in the recent Star Wars sequel trilogy. His co-stars Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran – who became the first woman of colour to have a leading role in the franchise – received a huge amount of online abuse from fans that were angry with the inclusive casting choice.
In a new interview with Variety, Boyega urged movie studios to take a larger and more public role in defending their stars from this kind of online harassment.
He said: “When one of your actors, especially an actor that’s so prominent in the story, is announced as part of your franchise and then it has a big racial backlash and receives abuse online and that starts to form a shadow on what is supposed to be an amazing gift.”
Boyega continued: “It is important for the studios to definitely lend their voice, lend their support to that and to have a sense of solidarity not just in the public eye, but on the ground on set.”
The 28-year-old made headlines in September when he spoke out against the racial inequity both he and Tran faced when filming the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
In an interview with GQ, the Detroit star addressed Disney, stating: “Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f*** all.”
Earlier this week, the actor revealed that a Disney executive contacted him after his comments were published, with the pair engaging in a “very honest, very transparent conversation”.
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