Moses Ingram and Ewan McGregor quickly parried toxicity with humor and grace.
Toxic fandom, particularly in the form of racist comments, has become a sad reality for major entertainment franchises, including “Star Wars.” This isn't always the case. Billy Dee Williams and Donald Glover—who both play Lando Calrissian—are fairly universally adored. But it still happens and when it does it casts a negative light on a universe George Lucas created nearly 50 years ago that has brought joy into the lives of millions of people from all corners of life. For example, Ahmed Best (the actor who played Jar Jar Binks) became so dispirited by racist backlash that he contemplated taking his own life.
Moses Ingram, who plays Inquisitor Reva Sevander in the new "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series on Disney+, is the latest actor of color to be on the receiving end of online vitriol. Again, she’s not the first. Ingram’s experience is very similar to that of John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran. This was so expected that Ingram told the Independent she was preemptively warned to “brace herself” by Lucasfilm.
Some comments were directed at Ingram’s acting ability. Considering she earned an Emmy nomination for her work on the critically acclaimed Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit,” those insults don’t seem to hold much merit. Plus, even the greatest actor can only do so much with a poorly written character. Criticism is a part of being an actor on the public stage. But the comments Ingram faced had nothing to do with creative differences and instead included threats of violence and racist comments.
Still, Ingram was ready with her own Jedi-worthy response.
Ingram posted a series of Instagram stories following the show’s premiere, at first recognizing the fact that, well, haters gonna hate. “There’s nothing anybody can do about this,” she said with a shrug and a smile. Where she admitted that “what bothers me is that there’s this feeling that I should shut up and take it,” she chooses to instead focus on the many, many fans who do support her.
Moses Ingram posted an instagram story about the racist comments she’s been receiving from Star Wars fans pic.twitter.com/NUe7aB0UQo— sleemo (@sleemo) May 31, 2022
And to the fans that do react poorly, Ingram has a simple message.
It’s a funny quip and really a great way to handle an otherwise disheartening situation. Sometimes humor is better than a lightsaber.
Ingram certainly wasn’t alone in standing up for herself. Obi-Wan himself came to fight against the dark side.
Actor Ewan McGregor also posted a video, which was shared by the official “Star Wars” Twitter account. In it, McGregor praises Ingram, calling her a “brilliant actor and amazing in the series,” adding that it “sickened” him to hear what had been happening.
A personal message from Ewan McGregor. pic.twitter.com/rJSDmj663K— Star Wars (@starwars) June 1, 2022
He also clapped back a bit, kindly reminding everyone that as “the leading actor in the series” and as “the executive producer on the series” he stood with Ingram, arguing that those who send bullying messages are “no Star Wars fans.”
Yes, the ever-expanding "Star Wars" universe is not without hate. But perhaps the best approach is to do as Ingram has done—not taking on others' shortcomings of character and instead placing them where they belong … in a galaxy far, far away.