Actor John Boyega has rarely acted like a typical employee of the Disney corporation—which, to be clear, is some of the highest praise we can think to muster at the moment. Among other things, Boyega has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on potentially controversial, mouse-offending topics, whether that meant commenting on preferred ’shipping pairings, toxic fandom, or, as he has in recent weeks, systemic and lethal racism and police violence. Boyega expressed his overall sense of concern about the repercussions of these statement quite succinctly during a Black Lives Matter speech he gave in London earlier today, stating that, “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that,” before going on to call for justice for George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, and other “innocent people who were halfway through their process” when they encountered the police officers who killed them.
But don’t worry, folks: Everyone’s favorite corporate-owned space opera totally has its former lead actor’s back, in this one very public, easily marketable case. The official Star Wars Twitter account issued a statement today voicing its support for Boyega and the Black Lives Matter movement—a statement that any number of online commentators have found at least a little questionable, given how noticeably quiet Disney and LucasFilm have been about the harassment Boyega has received ever since joining the franchise several years back. After all, it’s all well and good to declare Boyega “our hero” today, when he’s serving as a rallying point for the BLM cause. But that support doesn’t appear to have been so effusive when the baying online hordes came after him for daring to be a Black man in a much-loved science fiction property.
Anyway: Disney did at least bother to put some of its money where its all-consuming maw is, announcing that it’ll be donating $5 million to “organizations that support social justice,” including a $2 million donation to the NAACP. The algebra of corporate “activism” remains a complex and evolving science, but we have to admit that “toothless company statement paired with money” does typically outweigh “toothless company statement” on its lonesome, even if the real question—of whether the company will work with Boyega, hopefully as uncowed as ever, ever again—remains to be answered in the coming years.