The promotion for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is not going as planned. Folks keep putting the wrong foot forward: Daisy Ridley lost the thread on her privilege, J.J. Abrams put a knife in Rian Johnson’s back and then both Daisy and John Boyega seemed to twist that knife. But John’s comments about The Last Jedi were overshadowed when he seemingly undermined Kelly Marie Tran for the harassment she suffered on social media.
Here’s some context. John was one of the first Star Wars folks to defend Kelly when the trolls started in on her. In June 2018, at the height of the attack on Kelly, John posted the following:
Cut to this week and an interview John gave to Variety. During one question, John discussed the unique perspective of being the first trilogy in the era of social media and how interesting that was. Following that, the interviewer asked the bad side of social media, specifically what Kelly had encountered, and John’s response was… not good.
There’s a sort of double edged sword there. You can get really great engagement. But then there’s what happened with Kelly [Marie Tran] about the small subset people who are very vocal and very negative, and having to navigate that.
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. 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. 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.
As soon as I read those quotes, I knew John was going to be kicking himself. I knew, without a doubt, we’d get an apology, that’s just who John is. My hope was, it would be sufficient. Well, we got it, let’s read and find out:
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.
Maybe it’s my bias but I think it is a sufficient apology, especially if he spoke to Kelly personally as well. If you reread his initial Variety comments after reading this, it does sound like he’s speaking about his experience. So I believe that he was not using those words to apply to Kelly or her reaction. However, I also agree that his Variety answer was badly worded, as he said. At least he apologized outright and didn’t give the “that you were offended” caveat.
Most of the people leaving comments on John’s apology tweet are saying that they knew all along what he meant, and he had nothing to apologize for. I really like John. I love his enthusiasm for everything he’s earned. He’s fun – in interviews, on the red carpet and on social media – I just like the guy. And, as I mentioned above, I knew his comments were not how he’d intended. That said, I do think he owed Kelly at least a public admission. His comments could have been used against her and this, in my opinion, was the right thing to do. And he did it, like we all knew he would.
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