In a recent interview with The Guardian, Daisy Ridley denied being any more privileged than her Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker co-star John Boyega, a denial which social justice activists considered ‘tone deaf.’
During the interview, The Guardian reporter Nosheen Iqbal asked Ridley if she believed “it has been easier to be confident and navigate her celebrity because of the privilege in her life.”
Ridley is caught off guard by this question, and when pressed further by Iqbal, states that “there is little difference between her experience and that of her co-star John Boyega.”
Here’s how Iqbal detailed the exchange:
“The privilege I have – how? No, genuinely, how?”
Well, I say, in terms of wealth, class, education – that kind of privilege, in knowing how to decode the rules in certain spaces. As a caveat, I add that both of us have privilege, and it’s not a criticism; I was simply curious to know what she thought. Things take an awkward turn.
“Well no, because, no… ” There is a very long and tense pause, before she insists that, actually, there is little difference between her experience and that of her co-star John Boyega, who grew up in south London to British Nigerian immigrant parents. “John grew up on a council estate in Peckham and I think me and him are similar enough that… no.” I don’t point out that members of Ridley’s family were establishment figures (her grandfather, John Ridley OBE, was head of engineering at the BBC from 1950 to 1965; his brother was the Dad’s Army actor and playwright Arnold Ridley), while Boyega had to apply for a hardship fund to join Theatre Peckham.
“Also,” she adds, “I went to a boarding school for performing arts, which was different.”
Iqbal describes Ridley as becoming “suddenly incredulous” when asked about her privilege.
Following this interview, Ridley was heavily criticized by social-justice-oriented critics, who condemned Ridley for not recognizing her own supposed privilege:
Seriously fuck this interview. How do we live in a world where Daisy Ridley doesn’t recognise her privilege and life experience is different to JOHN BOYEGA 😡 pic.twitter.com/EZmRFvF7L1
— Samuel Morgan-Grahame 🌹 Vote Labour (@SMorganGrahame) December 7, 2019
Oh, Daisy Ridley. For God’s sake.
Proposal: maybe teach privilege as early as elementary, inoculate white kids to the concept so they don’t react like this when they’re adults? https://t.co/HFMJwwOAzb
— PhatCat (@fiddlersgreen92) December 7, 2019
one of the most appalling things abt this daisy ridley interview is that in her 4yrs of headlining one of the biggest franchises on earth, this is, so painfully evidently, the very first time anyone has truly invited her to critically confront & examine her own privilege.
— ham yoyo 🚀💫 (@scifibis) December 7, 2019
Omfg this is actually embarrassing. #DaisyRidley should be utterly ashamed to believe that her life as a privately educated daughter of establishment was the same as the son of Nigerian immigrants growing up on a council estate. It’s disgusting that you can’t see the privilege https://t.co/IqTNttn9k4
— j r o s e 🌱🇪🇺 (@jenrosleigh) December 8, 2019
YouTuber Jeremy Griggs of Geeks and Gamers comments saying:
“One day you are the social justice weirdo beacon of hope. Your race, your gender, your sexual preference will all be used against all of the “bigots” and “racists” out there. And they are going to virtue signal and talk about how they respect as long, as long as you are willing to say an do exactly what they say.”
He continues, “The moment you have an opinion that goes against the narrative, they will eat you alive. And you become nothing but another privileged white person in their eyes. The oppression Olympics always eats its own.”
As of writing, Ridley has not responded publicly to the backlash.