John Boyega apologizes for ‘badly worded’ comments about Kelly Marie Tran


The promotion for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is not going as planned. Folks keep putting the wrong foot forward: Daisy Ridley lost the thread on her privilege, J.J. Abrams put a knife in Rian Johnson’s back and then both Daisy and John Boyega seemed to twist that knife. But John’s comments about The Last Jedi were overshadowed when he seemingly undermined Kelly Marie Tran for the harassment she suffered on social media.

Here’s some context. John was one of the first Star Wars folks to defend Kelly when the trolls started in on her. In June 2018, at the height of the attack on Kelly, John posted the following:

Cut to this week and an interview John gave to Variety. During one question, John discussed the unique perspective of being the first trilogy in the era of social media and how interesting that was. Following that, the interviewer asked the bad side of social media, specifically what Kelly had encountered, and John’s response was… not good.

There’s a sort of double edged sword there. You can get really great engagement. But then there’s what happened with Kelly [Marie Tran] about the small subset people who are very vocal and very negative, and having to navigate that.

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.

[From Variety]

As soon as I read those quotes, I knew John was going to be kicking himself. I knew, without a doubt, we’d get an apology, that’s just who John is. My hope was, it would be sufficient. Well, we got it, let’s read and find out:

He followed that tweet immediately with this one:

Maybe it’s my bias but I think it is a sufficient apology, especially if he spoke to Kelly personally as well. If you reread his initial Variety comments after reading this, it does sound like he’s speaking about his experience. So I believe that he was not using those words to apply to Kelly or her reaction. However, I also agree that his Variety answer was badly worded, as he said. At least he apologized outright and didn’t give the “that you were offended” caveat.

Most of the people leaving comments on John’s apology tweet are saying that they knew all along what he meant, and he had nothing to apologize for. I really like John. I love his enthusiasm for everything he’s earned. He’s fun – in interviews, on the red carpet and on social media – I just like the guy. And, as I mentioned above, I knew his comments were not how he’d intended. That said, I do think he owed Kelly at least a public admission. His comments could have been used against her and this, in my opinion, was the right thing to do. And he did it, like we all knew he would.




Photo credit: WENN Photos

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19 Responses to “John Boyega apologizes for ‘badly worded’ comments about Kelly Marie Tran”

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  1. Erinn says:

    I think this was an unfortunate case of speaking without getting his words in order.

    I think the basic intentions of what he had said were fine – but it’s the word choices mainly that made me wince. He went from a specific incident to speaking generally, and the transition wasn’t that clear.

    I knew this was going to be a problem for a lot of people – and I don’t blame them at all. But I also don’t think he meant it in the terms that it came across as. So I’m glad he’s apologized.

    It still makes me so angry that Kelly had to leave social media in the first place.

    • smcollins says:

      I think this was an unfortunate case of speaking without getting his words in order.

      Exactly my thought as well. I get what he meant but it came out a little “wrong.” He recovered nicely, though, with his follow-up clarification and apology.

  2. Heather says:

    Seems to me that Disney & Lucasfilm needs to invest in some interview/press junket-prep classes for their actors.

    • Jess says:

      Nah i want these celebs to expose themselves so i know who really thinks this way so i know which films i should give my money to.

  3. MaryContrary says:

    No one ever gets it right all the time. I will add that I would hate to have every word I said put under a microscope or taken out of context.

    • lucy2 says:

      Me too. I can’t even imagine.
      I think he handled this just fine, messed up a little, owned it, clarified.

  4. Mia4s says:

    It’s kind of amazing how clearly over it the cast seems to be on this press tour. They can’t even hide it! It’s a bit bizarre. I suppose there are some nerves as other than Driver none of them have much momentum outside the franchise (Oscar, I love you. But your box office record? Painful!). It’s OK to want to move on (hell most of us have already moved on to the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda…😬) but just fake it a few more days!!

    • Danielle says:

      Where’s Domhnall Gleeson?? He’s done no promo yet. I love him. He always seems to get pushed aside, but gives a great interview. He had a great response to this Kelly mess last year.

      • MeMe2 says:

        Is he in the newest movie?

      • Mia4s says:

        He’s in the movie! Maybe filming/working on something? Either that or he has quite a small role. To be honest I’m a bit cynical as to how much press Disney has Kelly Marie Tran doing, as I have a sneaky suspicion her role is much smaller this time out.

  5. Snowslow says:

    It is very clear to me that he was speaking from his own experience. I am getting a bit tired of non-issues, especially today where the country I live in (and also Boydega’s) just voted for a Trumpian Bojo.

    • It’sjustblanche says:

      Amen! We’ve all got bigger issues to worry about.

    • Cindy says:

      “I am getting a bit tired of non-issues”

      Same, except I got tired a long time ago.

      If Kelly doesn’t care I don’t see why anybody else should. It’s so weird, how people nowadays feel so entitled to being offended on someone else’s unoffended behalf. Especially when that someone else is a celebrity they’ve never spoken to.

  6. Paige says:

    Celeb magazine interviews are very rarely verbatim. It’s very possible the interviewer asked a generic question about his response to social media trolls without mentioning Tran’s name, then wrote that line about her into the question afterwards – not to gotcha him but simply to make the question more relevant.

  7. Anne says:

    It was badly worded but I saw the interview and he knew he was being asked specifically about Kelly and yet put his foot on his mouth. Is Daisy weak for leaving social media too? I don’t think so. Kelly was harassed and received death threats /:

  8. manda says:

    He needs to teach courses on how to graciously apologize, that was perfect!

    I like him. Has he been asked about Daisy’s comments on privilege? I wonder if they would do that to him, but I genuinely wonder what he thought when he compared her background to his

  9. Christina says:

    It’s never the mistake as much as the reaction. We all mess up. Reacting poorly makes it worse.

  10. CK says:

    Can everyone promoting Star Wars just stop? This is one of the biggest franchises that is micromanaged to a T and the press tour is just in absolute shambles. Just give us the film. It will sell itself.

  11. Miriam says:

    I lik John and his words were taken out of context but glad he apologised.