Fan-favorite franchise Star Wars cannot escape racism within its fans. Many have criticized the casting of Moses Ingram in the miniseries Obi-Wan Kenobi, with no other arguments other than her skin color and gender.
His co star Ewan McGregor defended her on Twitter, sharing a video on his page addressing the racist messages Ingram has received ever since the series premiered on Disney+.
“It seems that some of the fan base has decided to attack Moses Ingram online and send her the most horrendous, racist DMs. I heard some of them this morning and it just broke my heart.”
“Moses is a brilliant actor, she’s a brilliant woman, and she’s absolutely amazing in this series…I just want to say as the leading actor in the series, as the executive producer on the series, that we stand with Moses,” said McGregor.
Ingram shared some of the hate messages she has been receiving on Twitter and Instagram. They call her a diversity token, an actress hired by Disney to make Star Wars more “woke” without any actual merit, as well as calling her racial slurs. She reminded her audience that like the 4 or 5 messages she showed, there are thousands more.
These situations are a painful reminder that racism is still very much a daily thing. This isn’t the first time a Black actor in the Star Wars cinematic universe has received backlash for their race, John Boyega who played Po the pilot suffered from this the moment the first trailer dropped. It is something that actors who are not white have to face and are even expected to face: Ingram’s casting agency warned her about it and told her she should prepare, and that they would be there for her.
Lucasfilms also warned the actress that there would be racist comments regarding her casting beforehand. They let her know she could report it to them when it happened, but she still expressed frustration since she knows there is very little they can actually do to put an end to it.
“The thing that bothers me is … this feeling of like, I just gotta shut up and take it, I just have to grin and bear it. And I’m not built like that,” she said on her Instagram stories. “Thank you to the people who show up for me in the comments and in the places that I’m not going to put myself. And to the rest of y’all, y’all weird.”
The Star Wars official social media also backed her up. They stated that they stood by her and that if anyone wanted to make her feel like she was not welcome, they would resist. They stand by the fact that storytelling and worldbuilding as complex as the Star Wars universe is in need of more diverse characters, POC included with no exceptions.
Sci-fi is a genre traditionally dominated by men (like most movie genres), and in recent years there has been an effort to try and bring more diversity into the screen. You can have giant green blobs, talking monsters, a hairy dog-like man who doesn’t speak English, but the moment a black person is a Stormtropper, a woman is a general, or a black woman is the main villain, many find it the perfect excuse to bring out their internalized racism and make remarks with nothing but racial bias.