The year is 2015. The trailer for The Force Awakens has just dropped. The reaction is overwhelmingly positive, except for one major thing— some people (re: racists) are mad a black man has a leading role in a Star Wars film.
John Boyega, the actor who plays Finn, has dealt with racist hate for nearly five years from members of the Star Wars fandom. Some of these racists were fanboys who insist a person of color in a lead role is “too PC.” And the rest? Reylo shippers.
For years, Boyega has dealt with thinly-veiled and not-so-thinly-veiled racism from people who ship Reylo. They feel threatened by his friendship with Daisy Ridley (who plays Rey) because it interferes with their fantasy of who Boyega, Ridley, and Adam Driver (who plays Kylo Ren) are. They see Finn as a threat to Reylo, as he is the only other character in canon who can be interpreted as a potential love interest (though people can and do ship Rey with other characters as well).
The Reylos have spent years saying hateful things about Finn and Boyega; meanwhile, Boyega has borne it all in silence. This emboldened them into believing they were both right and able to say whatever they wanted without consequence.
That is, until December 31st, 2019 when Boyega made a joke in response to an Instagram comment. The joke was in reference to Reylo vs. Finnrey, a commenter suggesting that the Reylo kiss in The Rise of Skywalker means less than who she eventually ends up with.
Boyega jokingly replied, “It’s not about who she kisses but who eventually lays the pipe. You’re a genius.” And Reylos lost their shit.
They sent a whole new wave of hate this way, under the guise of calling him out for misogyny. What’s misogynistic about a joke about two fictional characters banging? Nothing. Literally nothing. No, the real reason Reylos are mad is because it’s pro-Finnrey and Boyega is openly anti-Reylo (as is the rest of the cast, but interestingly Reylos are mute about that).
I mean, Reylos say absurdly sexual things about Reylo all the time. And they’re mad Rey didn’t become a baby machine for Kylo. But for some reason it’s okay for them to do that, but not for Boyega to make a joke.
This new wave of hate was littered with Reylos insisting he’s jealous of Driver and that he has a crush on Ridley. They wrung their hands over Ridley’s close friendship with Boyega and wished she would ditch him. They said disgusting things to him and then painted themselves as the victims when he responded.
But his initial responses were nothing compared to the video he posted on Instagram yesterday. The video is a short edit of Boyega dancing and kicking those hateful Reylo tweets. It’s really funny. But Reylos are not happy.
Why are they mad now? Because he included their usernames. So now they’re acting like victims again because apparently minors and women can’t be called out for sending hate. Some even claim he’s doxxed them, but that’s a gross exaggeration. He simply showed public Tweets from public Twitter accounts that were sent to him publicly. He didn’t give out any private information. He didn’t do anything but stand up for himself.
The kicker in all of this is that if it were Adam Driver doing this, they’d be cheering him on. Either that, or they’d pretend it didn’t happen. He’s been critical of Reylo and yet they don’t have any issue with that. No, anything he does wrong (like joining the military to kill brown people, though Driver has since come out and said he was wrong for that) is excusable. But John Boyega? He’s clearly a narcissist and a bully. Reylos are so transparent, it’s honestly pathetic (it’s also worth noting some of them have attempted to stalk Driver and have sent hate to his wife, so this abusive behavior isn’t out of character for them).
I will admit I’m against Reylo and am a fan of John Boyega. But I don’t think my biases are at play here. At the end of the day, I don’t really care if you ship Reylo. A lot of these kids will grow out of it and realize it’s a toxic ship. Some won’t. I don’t like it, but shipping ships like this isn’t new.
What I care about is the abuse John Boyega has had to suffer for the last five years. I care that these Reylos think they should be allowed to say whatever they want to him without consequence. I care that they want to pretend they’re victims when they’re the ones that started this. Boyega is just meme-ing at this point.
If you’ve turned on Boyega after this, I find it hard to trust your allyship. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to make a joke out of the abuse he’s suffered from these people? Why should he have to make a “professional” statement? He should be allowed to handle this in his own way. Though ideally, he wouldn’t have to go through this at all.
Also Finn should’ve been a Jedi, but that’s another post for another day.