'I was really speaking from my own perspective throughout this franchise.'
John Boyega is apologizing for his recent remarks.
The controversy began when, in an interview with Variety, the Star Wars actor responded to a question about the dark side of fan engagement, something that his Last Jedi co-star, Kelly Marie Tran, experienced last year when she was reportedly the target of racist remarks from fans of the franchise. She ended up quitting social media as a result.
"Being in this position, you just understand the masses, how the masses think, you know. Through social media, we get to engage, we get to have fun," he told Variety. "But at the same time, for those who are not mentally strong, you are weak to believe in every single thing that you read. That’s, you know, it is what it is."
"I don’t know, for me anyway, when I see that [backlash], I’m like, well, that’s actually not true. But no, it is actually not true. So it’s kind of like [shrugs] it is what it is," Boyega continued. "But to engage, to connect with the fans who otherwise wouldn’t get a day to day experience, especially during things like the press tour, and behind the scenes stuff, is always good."
In a tweet on Thursday, Boyega walked back his comments, writing, "In no way was I referring to Kelly when I made my comments although the interviewer mentioned her given the topic."
"I was really speaking from my own perspective throughout this franchise," he continued. "Sometimes I’ve felt strong and sometimes I’ve felt weak. Badly worded though. I apologize."
In a second tweet, he added, "My comments on Kelly specifically and online harassment remains the same via a tweet I put out a few years ago."
The tweet he was seemingly referring to came last June, following Tran's decision to delete her social media after reportedly receiving racist, sexist, and hate-fueled comments.
"To the majority of Star Wars fans thank you for supporting and putting yourselves in our shoes. You understand that there is a process so much appreciated!" Boyega wrote at the time. "If you don’t like Star Wars or the characters understand that there are decision makers and harassing the actors/ actresses will do nothing. You’re not entitled to politeness when your approach is rude. Even if you paid for a ticket!"
Following her departure from social media, Tran spoke out in an essay for The New York Times about her decision.
"It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them," she wrote. "And those words awakened something deep inside me -- a feeling I thought I had grown out of. The same feeling I had when at 9, I stopped speaking Vietnamese altogether because I was tired of hearing other kids mock me."
"Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was 'other,' that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them," she continued. "And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all."
She added that, despite her decision to step back from social media, she remained committed to telling important stories.
"I know the opportunity given to me is rare," she wrote. "I know that I now belong to a small group of privileged people who get to tell stories for a living, stories that are heard and seen and digested by a world that for so long has tasted only one thing. I know how important that is. And I am not giving up."
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