Actor John Boyega is sharing more about how studios can support actors of color, especially those who have been harassed by fanbases.
John Boyega is offering some new advice to studios in the wake of his recent criticisms against Disney and Lucasfilm for his treatment in Star Wars. As we’ve reported previously, back in September, Boyega got very candid about how he felt while playing Finn in the Star Wars Skywalker saga sequels, and for him, it wasn’t all a pleasant experience.
On top of that, he pointed out how actors of color, in general, had not received the same treatment as his costars — especially when it came to the fandom at large. From the beginning, Boyega had been harassed online during promotion for Episode VII: The Force Awakens — some had been surprised to see a Black actor was playing a stormtrooper. And then, during Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran came under fierce harassment online, leading her to delete her social media profiles.
Because of these accounts, Boyega is calling for more action for studios to defend their actors when this type of harassment happens. As he’s called it, “They can’t get Boyega-ed.” Here’s what the actor had to say in an interview with Variety:
"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, 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."
Boyega makes an interesting point. It’s almost like avoiding an elephant in the room if promotion for a film (or perhaps a television show) continues on while the lead actor in question is subject to hateful speech online. Even if it’s just a vocal minority, it would be at the benefit of the actor and the studio for companies to use their voice to help set the record straight.
The actor added his advice to Disney specifically, saying:
"What I would say to Disney is 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."
Earlier this week, Boyega revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he has had some constructive talks with Disney already. And he’s since confirmed it again in this interview with Variety. It’s possible this was the advice that he’s given to the studio in these honest talks. And because of his suggestions, we may see more transparency from Disney (and perhaps other studios) in the future when it comes to these types of situations.
In the previous interview, Boyega stated it was his intention to help future generations of people of color in the creative arts like himself. So with time (though hopefully soon), Disney and others will take these talks to heart.
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