Star Wars actor John Boyega has apologised to fans for comments about dealing with online abuse, which were construed as a reference to the struggles of his co-star Kelly Marie Tran.
The British actor said he was not talking about Tran when he said people are “weak to believe in every single thing that you read”, but admitted his statement was “badly worded” and apologised to fans.
Boyega spoke about the issue of online abuse during an interview with Variety in which he was asked about the “double-edged sword” of fandom and how it affected Tran, who quit social media in the wake of vitriolic fan response to her role as Rose in The Last Jedi.
“Being in this position, you just understand the masses, how the masses think, you know,” he said.
“Through social media, we get to engage, we get to have fun. But at the same time, for those who are not mentally strong, you are weak to believe in every single thing that you read.”
Boyega clarified his comments in a series of tweets to his 1.5m followers.
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. Sometimes I’ve felt strong and sometimes I’ve felt weak. Badly worded though. I apologize.— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) December 12, 2019
My comments on Kelly specifically and online harassment remains the same via a tweet I put out a few years ago.— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) December 12, 2019
The 27-year-old actor referred fans back to a tweet from June 2018, in which he criticised fans who target actors for playing roles they don’t like in movies.
If you don’t like Star Wars or the characters understand that there are decisions 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! 🤷🏾♂️— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) June 12, 2018
Tran, who will reprise the role of Rose in this month’s The Rise of Skywalker, recently spoke out about how she dealt with the abuse she received across several social media platforms.
She said: “I think that’s really important to realise that, regardless of who you are and what you’re in and what you’re associated with, being able to be honest and vulnerable and sort of take care of yourself mentally is a very… wildly important thing. It’s something I didn’t understand until I got into this.”
Tran found herself at the centre of the wide-ranging backlash against The Last Jedi, which also saw writer-director Rian Johnson receive abuse from fans.
Boyega and Tran will both return to their Star Wars roles for The Rise of Skywalker, in which J.J. Abrams returns to the director’s chair in order to bring the Skywalker Saga to a close.
The rest of the ensemble cast are also due back, including Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver.
Read more: Ridley says Star Wars ending “felt right”
Ian McDiarmid is set to reprise his role as Emperor Palpatine, despite his apparent death in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive in UK cinemas from 19 December.