John Boyega Apologizes for ‘Badly Worded’ Comment That Appeared to Criticize Kelly Marie Tran

“My comments on Kelly specifically and online harassment remains the same via a tweet I put out a few years ago,” “Star Wars” actor says

John Boyega clarified that he was not talking about his “Star Wars” co-star Kelly Marie Tran when he said that you need to be “mentally strong” on social media to deal with the masses online.

In an interview with Variety, Boyega was asked about his perspective on navigating social media reaction with regard to the “Star Wars” films and he said, “you are weak to believe in every single thing that you read.” Some people took his comments to be a veiled criticism of Tran, who was driven off Instagram due to the intense amount of harassment she received for being the first non-white woman to hold a major role in a “Star Wars” film.

In a tweet late Wednesday, however, Boyega apologized for “badly worded” comments and said he was only talking about his own point of view, not Tran’s, even though Tran was directly named by the interviewer.

“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,” he said. “My comments on Kelly specifically and online harassment remains the same via a tweet I put out a few years ago.”

Here are Boyega’s full comments given to Variety:

“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.”

Shortly after Tran deleted her Instagram account in the summer of 2018, Boyega was joined by Mark Hamill and “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson in condemning anyone who would harass someone online for not liking a movie.

“If you don’t like Star Wars or the characters understand that there are decision-makers and harassing the actors/ actresses will do nothing,” Boyega said in 2018. “You’re not entitled to politeness when your approach is rude. Even if you paid for a ticket!”

Boyega also recently said he was “iffy” about the direction of his character Finn in the previous “Star Wars” film “The Last Jedi,” saying he didn’t agree with the decision to split up Finn from the core trio of other characters, Rey and Poe.

“‘The Force Awakens’ I think was the beginning of something quite solid,” the actor said. “‘The Last Jedi,’ if I’m being honest, I’d say that was feeling a bit iffy for me. I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of the choices in that and that’s something that I spoke to Mark [Hamill] a lot about, and we had conversations about it. And it was hard for all of us because we were separated.”

Episode IX in the “Star Wars” franchise, “The Rise of Skywalker,” opens in theaters on Dec. 20.

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