Emma Watson is facing backlash and being accused of performative activism following her participation in Blackout Tuesday, a social media initiative that aimed at muting self-promotional and commercial content in favor of amplifying black voices following the police killing of George Floyd. On Tuesday, the Harry Potter alum joined the long list of celebrities and other social media users taking to Instagram to share a black square with the appropriate hashtags, though it quickly landed her in hot water.
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In an attempt to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, Watson shared three identical posts to her account Tuesday, each bearing a black square, framed in white. She included the hashtags "Blackout Tuesday," "The Show Must Be Paused," "Amplify Melanated Voices," and "Amplify Black voices."
Given Watson's history of social activism, many were upset that the three posts, which included nothing more than hashtags and did not mention Floyd, marked the first time she had addressed Floyd's passing, which has prompted global protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Many slammed her for editing the black squares to match the aesthetic of her account, while others pointed out that she failed to include any useful information, such as links to where to donate. Keep scrolling to see what fans had to say.
Been feeling uneasy about the deluge of perfomative wokeness on social media for ages now but Emma Watson posting three blackout photos on her Insta instead of one to maintain her grid aesthetic has finally done me in.— Jess Denham (@jess_denham) June 3, 2020
emma watson really out here tryna make it fit her insta theme..go girl give us nothing !! pic.twitter.com/HN5BLsbNiE— єℓℓι 🦔🕸🕯 (@sunsetxbabe) June 3, 2020
she didn’t say a single word until now and added a white border for her insta aesthetic pic.twitter.com/0OW24UDM2e— dilan (@enigmarih) June 2, 2020
emma watson is a UN embassador who is refusing to speak up on one of the most important events in history. let that sink in— nat! 💋 (@llNCENDIO) June 2, 2020
emma watson really posted three other blank black pics so it wouldn't ruin her aesthetic i- pic.twitter.com/uSOdQCQ1li— victoire (@needyIouie) June 2, 2020
she said: “AcTivIsm✊⚡️😡🔥 but 𝓶𝓪𝓴𝓮 𝓲𝓽 𝓪𝓮𝓼𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓽𝓲𝓬 🥰✨💕😍🧚🏻”— 𝖓𝖎𝖑𝖘𝖔 | blm (@harrystylitos) June 2, 2020
the fact that emma watson didn't say a single word about blm til now and today she's posting three black squares with white borders to maintain her aesthetic...and she calls herself an activist. that's enough activism for today for her i guess— rafia (@repromantics) June 2, 2020
emma watson has been suspiciously quiet for being an “activist” and a “feminist”...........inch resting— kate (@turnerstcrk) June 1, 2020
this is a real example of how some people care more about their ig aesthetic than a reaL HUMAN ISSUE— barbie_drip___🦎✨🌈 (@cinnamoon_boyy) June 2, 2020
im so disappointed in her i loved her wtf 😭— g✿bby (@inmyh3add) June 2, 2020
Of course, many fans were just as quick to come to Watson's defense. Across social media, fans countered those attempting to "cancel" the actress by pointing out her history of activism, which includes donations to a number of NGOs. In 2014, she was even appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. In 2018, Watson had even acknowledged that she has benefited from being white in a moving social media post that encouraged others to face their own privileges and learn from others.
I will not tolerate Emma Watson slander on my timeline. She has always been for human rights with a focus on feminism. She’s staying in her lane and simply saying: LISTEN TO BLACK PEOPLE #amplifyBlackvoices pic.twitter.com/STuremmz51— Dani (@danidanidanidd) June 2, 2020
Come on people, don't forget those who helped before and still doing it.— Alexis (@AlexisRV54) June 2, 2020
Emma Watson pic.twitter.com/JcQfTalLan
Emma Watson has been one of the most openly accepting and selfless activists before it became a trend among celebrities and she's trending cause twitter wants to cancel her for posting black squares with white borders instead of black squares, SHE IS AN ALLY!! pic.twitter.com/cDBzrzos5O— f #BLM (@slewdd) June 2, 2020
Emma Watson has been speaking up about racism since 2015 but y'all want to cancel her because she posted 6 posts in order to amplify a movement. Don't talk about aesthetic when your fav never address issues on their Instagram. Emma's whole feed is giving voice to minorities. pic.twitter.com/yEdHlgpcZg— green (@__LearnWithMe) June 2, 2020
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As many fans had suggested in their defense of Watson, her silence regarding Floyd's death and where she stands on the protests was intended, as she had been working on them and had been waiting to share them at an appropriate time. In the first of three new posts, Watson, sharing artwork and poetry from Brooklyn artist Dr. Fahamu Pecou, said that she "was holding off posting until 'Blackout Tuesday' ended in the UK." She later shared a statement denouncing racism and white supremacy with the caption, "I stand with you."0comments
"There is so much racism, both in our past and present, that is not acknowledged nor accounted for," Watson wrote 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."
Watson went on to announce that she would be using her "bio link and Twitter to share links to resources I've found useful for my own researching, learning, listening." The current link in her Instagram bio takes users to a compiled list of ways you can help the Black Lives Matter movement. On her Twitter account, Watson has shared a number of resources for others to educate themselves and get involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.