“Star Wars” actor John Boyega condemned racism on social media Wednesday and told fans of his who were racist to “f--k off” following the recent death of George Floyd, a black man who died shortly after a Minneapolis police officer was seen pinning him to the ground by pushing his knee down on his neck.
Boyega, who portrays Finn in the some of the latest films in the “Star Wars” franchise, posted a tribute to Floyd on Twitter earlier on Wednesday, saying: “This just burns. Seems to be a never ending cycle.”
“The murderers need to be charged severely," he continued. "Even in the face of death this man was given zero empathy."
This just burns. Seems to be a never ending cycle. The murderers need to be charged severely. Even in the face of death this man was given zero empathy. #RIPGeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/gyuaoC6vUh— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) May 27, 2020
In another tweet that went up within 20 minutes of the original post, Boyega wrote: “I really f---ing hate racists.”
I really fucking hate racists.— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) May 27, 2020
Though the post, which has racked up more than 814,000 likes so far, seemed to be in line with many users’ emotions in regards to racism following the death of Floyd and several other incidents that had gone viral recently, some people took issue with Boyega's language.
"Hate is everywhere and hating someone only makes it worse try love,” one person wrote.
“Hate [is] a strong word, we can’t conquer hatred with hatred. We rather say we hate their attitude,” another user wrote. In response, Boyega said: “I said what I said. Speak for yourself at all times x.”
Another user wrote: “Nobody loves racists. I'm from Nigeria my ex said she hates whites so I broke up with her.”
However, Boyega made clear in his response to the commenter, given the nature of Floyd’s death and recent incidents, that he was talking specifically about “WHITE on BLACK racism.”
“The kind that has ruined the world not caused a lil break up with your girlfriend,” he wrote.
That reply in particular prompted an array of mixed responses from Twitter users.
“Ouch man, racism can come from anyone,” one user responded. Boyega replied, “I don’t care. That’s not what I’m talking about.”
“Damn, John. I get it you’re angry but don’t take it out on the fans you might lose some bro just saying mate,” another person wrote, to which Boyega responded: “Don’t say bro. Keep it moving."
Another social media user also took aim at the actor, saying with what appears to be sarcasm: “Please spare a thought and light a candle for @JohnBoyega. The majority whitey country he lives in has made life so incredibly difficult for him. By the way buy a ticket for his new movie so his salary may increase a few million more.”
Boyega noted in his response to the user that his salary was one he “worked hard for from nothing.”
“I also remember walking through thamesmead, getting jumped and called a African monkey from 13. You idiots that like to think my millions dictates my mind are the worst,” Boyega, who is Nigerian but was raised in London, added.
After several back-and-forth exchanges with some social media users, Boyega later posted a video addressing the commenters who had took issue with his remarks.
Some folks only like black people who step and fetch, shuck and jive, dance, sing, perform or play a sport (see Diamond and Silk).— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 27, 2020
But the moment we speak out against white supremacy, as John Boyega does, they tell us to shut up and entertain them.pic.twitter.com/6qfpD02F1o
In the video, Boyega doubled down on his comments, saying again: “I hate racists with a passion.”
“It’s very, very important at this time that we ignore ignorance and we ignore people that come through and try to make these situations what they’re not,” he said.
“I’m not even apologizing first of all, you better f---ing believe that,” he goes on. “But there’s no way that I have the opinion that there's no other forms of racism. Of course there’s other forms of racism, but a black man was just murdered in cold blood in the streets … again, while saying that he can’t breathe.
“So, I say it again,” he says. “F--k you racist white people. I said what I said … and if you’re a fan of me and you support my work and you’re racist and you’re arguing what I was saying, f--k off, you f----ing d--k heads.
Boyega’s name was trending at the top of Twitter’s list of trending items in the U.S. for part of Wednesday following the remarks, which come two days after Floyd's death.
Floyd, 46, died in a hospital after he had been taken in police custody in Minneapolis earlier on Monday.
In footage of his death that has since gone viral, Floyd, who had been unarmed, was seen saying, “I can’t breathe,” as an officer pinned him to the ground by pushing his knee onto his neck.
The same words were said by Eric Garner, whose death, like that of Floyd’s, also prompted widespread protests after he was pinned to a ground by New York police while being placed in a chokehold during an arrest in 2017.