Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor has taken the unusual step of telling fans there is no room for racism in a galaxy far, far away.
McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi in the latest Star Wars series of the same name on Disney+, used a video posted to Twitter to criticize fans for sending racist messages to his co-star American actor Moses Ingram.
His defense of Ingram caught the attention of fans around the world and was viewed millions of times — but fans also drew parallels to previous episodes of abuse by the Star Wars actor.
It all starts with Instagram
Ingram on Tuesday shared screenshots of five direct messages she sent on Instagram Stories, including telling her “You are [sic] The days are numbered,” calling her “Diversity Hiring.”
“Long story short, there are hundreds of [messages]hundreds,” Ingram said in a series of Instagram Stories.
“I also see those of you who put the cape on me, and it really means the world to me, because you know, no one can do anything about it.
Ingram said she was conflicted about the tirade sharing the abusive messages she received, but she wasn’t prepared to accept them as part of the norm when she was cast.
“The thing that bothers me is, like, there’s this feeling inside of me that no one’s telling me, but this feeling, like, ‘I have to shut up and take it’ and you know, ‘I just have to smile and live with it’ , and I am not like that.
“So I really just want to stand up and I want to thank the people who have been around me in the comments and where I wouldn’t put myself.
An hour later, Star Wars begins
The company behind Star Wars was quick to condemn the racist messages Ingram received by posting on its social media platforms.
“We are proud to welcome Moses Ingram to the Star Wars family and are excited for Rewa’s story to unfold,” the statement said.
“If anyone wants to make her feel unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we boycott.
On Twitter and Instagram, thousands of fans praised Star Wars for showing their support for Ingram.
“It’s a shame even having to say it in this day and age, but thank you for standing up for her!” one account wrote.
“Moses Ingram doesn’t deserve this kind of hatred. She can play the worst Star Wars character ever and that’s no reason for someone in the DM to call them a racist slur,” another account wrote.
Sam Witwer, who has appeared in multiple Star Wars movies, TV shows and video games, said the statement was the right thing to do.
“No company wants to tweet like this, but it’s right,” he said tweet.
Obi-Wan himself then shared a message
But the series’ support for Ingram doesn’t stop there — nearly 19 hours later, Star Wars shared a video on Twitter titled “Personal Message from Ewan McGregor.”
McGregor started by thanking Star Wars fans for making Obi-Wan Kenobi the most-watched Disney+ original series premiere of all time.
“I want to thank you very much for that, it just shows what this family can do when we all pull together,” he said.
McGregor then turned to addressing the message Ingram received, denouncing “the most horrible and racist DM” that “broke my heart”.
“Moses is a talented actress, she’s a talented woman, she’s absolutely amazing on this series, she’s brought so much to the series and the series, it makes me sick to hear it, “He says.
“I just want to say that as the male lead of the series, as the executive producer of the series, we stand with Moses, we love Moses, and if you send her a bullying message, then in my opinion, you are not Fans of Star Wars. Mind.
Star Wars didn’t always sound like this
While fans praised the company for its support of Ingram, some pointed out that past actors didn’t get the same treatment when they were abused online.
John Boyega, who played Finn in the sequel trilogy “The Force Awakens,” “The Last Jedi,” and “The Rise of Skywalker,” said in a 2020 interview with GQ that he felt sorry for his role in the film. The experience in is frustrated based on his ethnicity.
“No one else in the cast said they were boycotting the film because [they were in it],” He says.
“No one else sent the commotion and death threats to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying ‘Black this black that, you shouldn’t be a stormtrooper.’ No one else has had this experience.”
Kelly Marie Tran, who co-starred with Boyega in The Last Jedi, also suffered a fierce online attack that eventually led to her deleting her Instagram post in 2018.
“It was basically me thinking, ‘Oh, it’s not good for my mental health. I’m obviously leaving this,'” she told The Hollywood Reporter in March.
Daisy Ridley was also abused when she was introduced to the series in 2015, deleting her Instagram account a year later.
Ridley had previously vowed never to return (she even told BuzzFeed that her social media use was “cut off like a Skywalker limb”), but she resumed posting on Instagram earlier this year.