Simon Pegg is standing up for his Star Wars co-stars.
The actor, who appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, addressed the way his colleagues have been treated by fans of the franchise in a new interview, admitting that he's found people to be resistant to progress. "The Star Wars fan base really seems to be the most kind of toxic at the moment," he said on SiriusXM's Jim and Sam Show July 20. "I'm probably being very controversial to say that."
Simon admitted that he too contributed to this problem, recalling the mean-spirited comments he made about the Jar Jar Binks character, played by Ahmed Best in the Phantom Menace prequel trilogy. However, he's since apologized for his missteps, saying, "There was a f--king actor involved. He was getting a lot of flack and…It was a human being. And because it got a lot of hate, he suffered and I feel terrible about being part of that."
And while his remarks were made about the character, Simon feels that the Star Wars fans can be racially insensitive, especially since he's seen his Star Trek co-stars treated quite differently. "I find the Star Trek fans have always been very, very inclusive," he said of his experience starring in the franchise. "Star Trek is about diversity. It has been since 1966, it always was."
Simon continued, "There's no sort of like, ‘Oh, you're suddenly being woke.' No, Star Trek was woke from the beginning, you know? This is massively progressive."
In comparison, Star Wars' cast has always been predominantly white and only recently introduced actors from different backgrounds. "Everyone's kicking off about it," Simon said of the increased diversity. "And it's really sad."
Most recently, Obi-Wan Kenobi's Moses Ingram, who is Black, was the target of racist attacks, prompting an official response from Disney. "We are proud to welcome Moses Ingram to the Star Wars family and excited for Reva's story to unfold," the official Star Wars account tweeted on May 30. "If anyone intends to make her feel in any way unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist."
The account added in a separate tweet, "There are more than 20 million sentient species in the Star Wars galaxy, don't choose to be a racist."
The following day, Ewan McGregor recorded a video discouraging cyberbullying. "I just wanted to say as the leading actor in the series, as the executive producer on the series, that we stand with Moses. We love Moses," he said. "And if you're sending her bullying messages, you're no Star Wars fan in my mind. There's no place for racism in this world."
Moses appreciated the support, writing on social media, "The love is louder. It overflows. Thank you."
Kelly Marie Tran, who is Asian-American, similarly faced vitriol when she appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The racist and sexist comments directed at Kelly were so intense, she deleted her Instagram. Kelly later explained in a New York Times essay that she started to believe what these trolls said about her, writing, "Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories."
Since then, Kelly has worked to uplift fellow Asian-Americans and advocates for the end of Asian hate.