The newshow is a hit. After landing on Friday, its first two episodes broke Disney Plus viewership records and were received well by critics. Amid the success, though, came abusive criticism from fringe Star Wars fans who directed racist abuse toward African American actress Moses Ingram, who plays a villain in the show.
Moses on Monday posted a number of the insulting messages she’d received from those who had seen the new episodes. Many accused her of being a “diversity” hire undeserving of the role, while others included more direct racist invective.
“There are hundreds of those,” Ingram said to the camera in a followup Instagram Story post. “I also see those of you out there who put on a cake for me, and that really does mean the world to me because there’s nothing anybody can do about this. There’s nothing anybody can do to stop this hate.”
Ewan McGregor, who stars as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the show, defended his colleague in a video statement posted to Star Wars’ official Twitter account on Tuesday.
“It seems that some of the fanbase have 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,” he said. “Moses is a brilliant actor, she’s a brilliant woman, and she’s absolutely amazing in this series. She brings so much to the series, she brings so much to the franchise, and it just sickened me to my stomach to hear that this had been happening.”
“I just wanted to say as the leading actor in the series, as the executive producer on the series, that we stand with Moses. We love Moses. And if you send her bullying messages, you’re no Star Wars fan in my mind. There’s no place for racism in this world. I totally stand with Moses.”
Star Wars has a giant, devoted fanbase, one that’s known to have a toxic element. Kelly Marie Tran, an Asian actress who played Rose Tico in The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker,after receiving so much race-based criticism from a segment of the Star Wars audience. “Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories,” Tran wrote in a subsequent New York Times op-ed.
Many in the industry jumped to defend Moses on social media, including Stark Trek actor Ansom Mount, iZombie’s Rahul Kohli and Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani, who also stars in Obi-Wan. “Moses Ingram is a phenomenal person and actor, and I am excited about the decades of amazing work she has ahead of her,” Nanjiani tweeted.
“The thing that bothers me is that this feeling that I’ve had inside myself, this feeling of ‘I’ve got to shut up and take it,'” Ingram said in an Instagram Story, “and I’m not built like that.”
“I really just wanted to come on and say thank you to the people who show up for me in the places I’m not gonna put myself. To the rest of y’all… y’all are weird.”