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John Boyega Didn’t Intend to Call Kelly Marie Tran ‘Weak’ Over Response to Toxic Fans

Tran made her "Star Wars" debut in "The Last Jedi" and faced harassment online from "Star Wars" fans who did not want her involved in the franchise.

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Disney

John Boyega found himself at the center of controversy this week because of an interview with Variety in which it appeared he was calling his “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” co-star Kelly Marie Tran “weak” for her response to fan harassment. Tran deleted her Instagram account following “The Last Jedi” release because her comments section was being flooded with racist and misogynistic comments from toxic fans. Variety reporter Adam B. Vary brought up “what happened to Tran” while interviewing Boyega, to which Boyega replied, “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.”

Many “Star Wars” fans interpreted Boyega’s quote to Variety as the actor calling Tran weak for leaving social media temporarily because of online harassment. Boyega took to social media to clarify his quote, saying that he was not talking about Tran specifically when he was discussing responses to social media backlash.

“In no way was I referring to Kelly when I made my comments although the interviewer mentioned her given the topic,” Boyega said. “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.”

Boyega’s original full quote to Variety reads: “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.”

Boyega has long stood up for Tran following the release of “The Last Jedi.” The actor took to social media in June 2018 to slam “Star Wars” fans who were harassing actors. “If you don’t like ‘Star Wars’ or the characters understand that there are decision makers and harassing the actors/actresses will do nothing,” the actor said at the time. “You’re not entitled to politeness when your approach is rude. Even if you paid for a ticket!”

Both Boyega and Tran are returning to the “Star Wars” franchise with the upcoming “The Rise of Skywalker,” in theaters nationwide December 20.

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