Star Wars is about diversity. It’s hard to believe that would be a surprise to anyone who has watched the 11 live-action feature films and multiple TV series dealing with a patchwork group of rebels seeking freedom from a xenophobic empire that stomps out all differences. From the moment Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi set foot in the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope and were greeted by a multitude of creatures of various sizes, shapes, skin colors, and more, it was apparent that diversity was the norm in the Star Wars galaxy.
And yet, somehow racists fail to understand such simple principles of the story and direct their hate at members of the cast. Most recently, Obi-Wan Kenobi star Moses Ingram was the recipient of vile language directed toward both her and her character, Inquisitor Reva, also known as the Third Sister.
A clearly frustrated Ingram took to Instagram to express her thoughts on the situation, telling viewers, “There are hundreds of those [hate messages], hundreds… There’s nothing anybody can do about this, there’s nothing anybody can do to stop this hate.” Ingram admits, “I question my purposes in even being here in front of you, saying that this is happening.” After a long pause, she continues, “I don’t really know… I don’t really know.”
Despite the franchise’s overt message of tolerance, Ingram is hardly the first person of color to be attacked by racists for their role in Star Wars. Some fans flooded the internet with hatred from just a glimpse of John Boyega’s Finn in the trailer for The Force Awakens. Boyega’s co-star in The Last Jedi, Kelly Marie Tran, was hassled so much that she deleted her social media accounts. Before them, Ahmed Best was nearly driven to suicide after he was targeted for his performance as Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace.
Well aware of the pain caused by such attacks, Best expressed his support for Ingram on Twitter. “You are a brilliant artist an inspiration and a queen of the highest order,” Best declared before promising, “I will stand with you and for you in this fight.”
Best wasn’t the only person to support Ingram online. The official Star Wars account also offered its own statement, affirming, “We are proud to welcome Moses Ingram to the Star Wars family and excited for Reva’s story to unfold. If anyone intends to make her feel in any way unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist.” The message ends with a simple declaration of what should be obvious to anyone who knows Star Wars: “There are more than 20 million sentient species in the Star Wars galaxy, don’t choose to be a racist.”
Series star Ewan McGregor also spoke out in support of Ingram in a video, saying, “We stand with Moses. We love Moses. If you are sending her bullying messages, you are no Star Wars fan in my mind. There is no place for racism in this world.”
Kumail Nanjiani, who plays faux Jedi con man Haja Estree in the series, retweeted McGregor’s video with the caption, “I stand with Moses.”
In her Instagram statement, Ingram described feeling like she was supposed to “just shut up and take it.” But the Emmy-nominated actor assured her viewers that “I’m not built like that.” In addition to thanking those who have been standing up for her in comment sections, Ingram performed a form of Star Wars-style rebellion by laughing at those who continue to hassle her and saying, “Y’all weird.”
We’re very excited to see more of Ingram’s Reva in the weeks ahead as Obi-Wan Kenobi continues on Disney+.