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John Boyega says studios must do more to support stars who receive online abuse

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read
John Boyega attends the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony on 02 February, 2020. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
John Boyega attends the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony on 02 February, 2020. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

John Boyega has laid down the gauntlet to film studios, urging them to offer more “solidarity” to their stars who suffer online abuse.

The Star Wars actor told Variety that studios need to do more to protect their actors online, particularly with people of colour who often receive a “racial backlash” on social media.

Read more: Boyega apologises for “badly worded” comments about trolls

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, 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.”

Watch: John Boyega speaks out at Black Lives Matter protest

Boyega’s latest comments come a few months after he gave a frank interview to GQ in which he discussed the way he believed people of colour were “pushed to the side” in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

The 28-year-old star said that “all the nuance” in those movies was given to the white leads, including Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, rather than performers like himself and Kelly Marie Tran.

Read more: Boyega prompts Star Wars fan debate with Jedi claim

He later revealed that he had an “honest and transparent” discussion with Disney after the piece emerged, in which he was able to lay out his concerns.

“I hope that the conversation is not such a taboo or elephant in the room now, because someone just came and said it,” he added.

Kelly Marie Tran and John Boyega in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'. (Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Kelly Marie Tran and John Boyega in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'. (Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Boyega has been increasingly outspoken about film industry racism in recent years and was hailed as a “hero” after an impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London this summer.

“I’m speaking to you from my heart,” he told the crowd. “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that.

“Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process. We don’t know what George Floyd could have achieved, we don’t know what Sandra Bland could have achieved, but today we’re going to make sure that won’t be an alien thought to our young ones.”

Read more: Could Boyega be the next James Bond?

Boyega played Stormtrooper turned Resistance fighter Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but told fans earlier this year that he has “moved on” from the galaxy far, far away.

He next will be seen as police officer Leroy Logan in Red, White and Blue — part of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series of TV movies.

Watch: Boyega felt “iffy” about The Last Jedi storyline