SyFy recently ran an article written by Kayleigh Donaldson who makes the racist claim that Star Wars has a “white male fandom problem.” In fact, that’s the actual headline of the article, “Star Wars Has A White Male Fandom Problem.”
While the article is definitely written to be inflammatory, one would think there would be some actual evidence to promote such racism. Unfortunately, there isn’t. Donaldson seems to base her assumption about the Star Wars fandom on Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, deleting all of her posts on Instagram. She goes on to describe this as Tran being “run off the internet.” Tran has not publicly commented on why she deleted her posts, but she did leave a message saying, “Afraid, but doing it anyway. ?”
Not only does she use Tran to support her assumption, but she also uses Star Wars author Chuck Wendig. She claims Wendig “is facing a barrage of hate from supposed fans who claim he is part of the ‘ruining’ of the franchise.” It’s more than likely Wendig is receiving hate because he decided to call Star Wars fans “white supremacists.”
In fact, Donaldson actually points to a popular Star Wars podcast Twitter account pointing out just that.
“The podcast, Rebel Force Radio, long criticized for its misogyny, tweeted that they had contacted Lucasfilm for a statement on Star Wars creators ‘attacking fans and inciting the fanbase.'”
I have contacted Lucasfilm for a statement about their creators attacking fans and inciting the fanbase. I’ll update everyone on RFR if I hear back. This is all for me discussing the controversy. This experience has made me very sad, but I feel its an important discussion to have
— Rebel Force Radio (@RebelForceRadio) June 4, 2018
That same podcast which apparently has “long been criticized for its misogyny” also praised Kelly Marie Tran saying, “We liked her in TLJ & she interacted w/ fans like a pro.”
KMT deserves much better. Her attackers are reprehensible people. We liked her in TLJ & she interacted w/fans like a pro. When the creators fight back, it solves nothing. It just just makes things worse as fandom becomes more divided. It only perpetuates a never-ending cycle.
— Rebel Force Radio (@RebelForceRadio) June 6, 2018
Despite, one of her main points of evidence being roundly debunked, Donaldson would continue her SyFy endorsed rant and blame “white male fandom” for editing Rose Tico’s Wookieepedia page. Donaldson wrongfully asserts they edited Kelly Marie Tran’s page when she writes:
“There is no way that abuse like Tran’s Wookieepedia page being edited to change her name to “Ching Chong Wing Tong” and describing her as “stupid, autistic and retarded” is rooted in anything other than racism and misogyny.”
She would add:
“This has nothing to do with being a fan. This is the obsessive screed of toxic white masculinity under the guise of a hobby.”
Donaldson provides no evidence as to who edited the page and just assumes it was a white male fan. It’s an extremely massive assumption. She also assumes that changing the Wookieepedia page is rooted in racism and misogyny. I highly doubt this, and believe it’s more than likely rooted in the contempt of Rose Tico’s character and her “story arc” in The Last Jedi, which have been roundly criticized.
In fact, Erin White at Afropunk writes:
“The Last Jedi failed its Black and Asian characters, reducing them to comic relief and Canto Bight.”
“To be fair, the way Canto Bight goes down, the heavy-handed political metaphors, and the Fantastic Beast scene, isn’t Rose’s fault, or actress Kelly Marie Tran, who is a welcome addition to the trilogy. Not only is this the WORST sequence in the film, it’s also one of the most pointless.”
Donaldson would conclude her racist screed claiming that Star Wars rot is due to “white male entitlement.”
“Star Wars fandom can be a truly beautiful thing, but the rot that has festered at its heart thanks to white male entitlement and gatekeeping is ruining it for everyone.”
Once again, she doesn’t even point to anything that can be described as “rot” besides the aforementioned points which are massive assumptions on her part and outright falsehoods.
Donaldson’s article seems to stem from a Tweet she posted on June 5th where she first “pitched” her racist idea that Star Wars has a “white male fandom problem.”
Let’s be honest here, Star Wars doesn’t have a fandom problem: It has a white male fandom problem, and it’s being stoked by the absolute worst aspects of bigoted gatekeeping that can’t stand the idea of not being pandered to 100% of the time. https://t.co/USz1T2orog
— Kayleigh Donaldson (@Ceilidhann) June 5, 2018
Interestingly enough, one of the first comments proves why this racist article should have never been written in the first place.
Totally disagree. You have Rey, who had so much potential in the Force Awakens to have a deep and interesting backstory and Last Jedi killed it by saying “she’s just powerful for no reason.” If “white male fandom” hates females then why was Leia so beloved from the get-go?
— Andrew St. Clair™ (@Andrew_StClair) June 5, 2018
Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia was and still is beloved by Star Wars fans. She was one of the top leaders of the Rebellion and was instrumental in defeating the Emperor and the Galactic Empire. She was a strong and well-written character regardless of her gender or race.
Also why do most fans love Rogue One? That film had a female lead in Jyn Erso and has an 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Donaldson’s screed is not only racist, it’s wrong, full of assumptions without any evidence, and simply disgusting.