British actress Emma Watson has responded to a Twitter backlash about how she supported the #BlackoutTuesday initiative, particularly on her Instagram account. Some fans expected the former “Harry Potter” star to post more meaningful messages and accused her of performative activism.
Watson joined Tuesday’s blackout across social media, putting her own spin on it by posting three black squares framed by white borders. Each of them was accompanied by the hashtags #blackouttuesday, #theshowmustbepaused, #amplifymelanatedvoices and #amplifyblackvoices.
Three days earlier, the “Little Women” actress had posted three white squares, which prompted some followers to think she prioritized her Instagram aesthetic over speaking up about protests and social unrest sparked by George Floyd’s death from police brutality.
By midnight on Tuesday, Watson seemed to hear fans’ calls to be a stronger ally. She pushed out a row of three more posts reflecting on white privilege and systemic racism. “I was holding off posting until #blackouttuesday ended in the U.K.,” she explained.
One of her posts featured artwork by Dr. Fahamu Pecou called “White Lies, Subtleties, Micro-Aggressions, and Other Choking Hazards,” along with the artist’s poem “B R O K E N O P E N. ”
Another post included a statement from Watson that read, in part: “White supremacy is one of the systems of hierarchy and dominance, of exploitation and oppression, that is tightly stitched into society. As a white person, I have benefited from this.”
“I’m still learning about the many ways I unconsciously support and uphold a system that is structurally racist,” she added, before promising to share resources for “researching, learning, listening” on her Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Watson is among many celebrities who have participated in protests across the country and voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement on social media.
“I see your anger, sadness and pain,” Watson wrote in her Tuesday statement. “I cannot know what this feels like for you but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to.”