“War for the Planet of the Apes” just opened to strong box-office returns and highly positive reviews, but its arrival in theaters hasn’t been entirely controversy-free. A number of people who watched the trailer noticed that Bad Ape (voiced by Steve Zahn) wears a blue vest similar to that of civil-rights activist DeRay Mckesson, leading some to wonder about the film’s racial politics.
DeRay was among them — “Given the history of rendering black people as apes, I’m offended & appalled by the lack of consciousness in Hollywood,” he tweeted on Monday — but it appears to have been a misunderstanding. The original “Apes” franchise featured a number of vest-wearing apes, and Bad Ape’s wardrobe is apparently intended as an homage to the earlier films; DeRay, one of Black Lives Matter’s most prominent voices, has since deleted his earlier tweet and followed up with two new ones.
“Now, with the #PlanetOfTheApes poster & toy, I was contacted by folks within Hollywood who thought there was an issue, hence those tweets,” he wrote. “After speaking with even more people about the history of the film, I deleted the tweets.”
Whoopi Goldberg chimed in on The View, announcing her plans to see the film and telling DeRay to “get over yourself…you’re doing great stuff, don’t screw it up by doing something dumb.” She then invited him to come on the show, lest you worry about any tension between the two.
After speaking with even more people about the history of the film, I deleted the tweets.
— deray mckesson (@deray) July 12, 2017