- Emma Watson faced backlash after posting three images of black squares with white outlines on Instagram.
- The posts were shared for Blackout Tuesday, an initiative launched by members of the music industry to show solidarity amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Watson’s fans criticized her for appearing to edit the images to fit her Instagram aesthetic.
- They also believed that she should have used her platform and large social media following to share useful information about donating, protesting, or other ways to help.
- Watson later posted a statement saying she’ll “be using my bio link and Twitter to share links to resources I’ve found useful for my own researching, learning, listening…”
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On Tuesday, the 30-year-old “Harry Potter” star posted three photos of black squares on her feed with the hashtags, “#blackouttuesday #theshowmustbepaused #amplifymelanatedvoices #amplifyblackvoices.”
The posts were shared as part of Blackout Tuesday, a social media action meant to show solidarity amid the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality protests across the US.
Watson’s images drew backlash after fans noticed that the black squares included white borders. Her recent posts followed three white squares that she posted on Saturday without captions.
People accused the actress of editing the images to adhere to her Instagram feed’s aesthetic.
Watson’s posts, as well as the Blackout Tuesday movement, have been slammed by social media users.
Some people have been including the #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM hashtags in their posts, flooding those hashtag pages and unintentionally concealing useful information and resources. Others have argued that the movement, which was launched by members of the music industry, is well-intentioned but counterproductive.
Watson’s fans argued that she should use her platform (she has 57.2 million Instagram followers) to be more proactive by sharing information regarding donating, protesting, and other ways to help. They also called her out for being silent on social media until now, accusing her of “performative activism.”
“Silence is not an option,” one fan wrote.
emma watson calling herself an activist while staying silent for five days, besides posting three blank picture that dont mean anything, now posting a black picture and four hashtags which are supposed to do what? POST PETITIONS, DONATE, BE ACTIVE. silence is not an option.
— alice (@intersteIlar) June 2, 2020
emma watson taking time out of her day to edit a black square so that it fits her instagram feed at age THIRTY but not posting a single link to donate/sign petitions just isn't sitting right
— alex (@billyselliot) June 2, 2020
not Emma Watson trying to maintain her insta aesthetic and being a pretentious blm supporter?? hermione granger would've bully tf outta her for this pic.twitter.com/eSUTlOh5tx
— nayeon lyricist (@nayeonsadyke) June 2, 2020
there’s something wrong with emma watson joining the blackout when she didnt even say anything or post links before to begin with and having the audacity to add a white border to the black blank picture she posted so the account could be aesthetically pleasing
— alice (@intersteIlar) June 2, 2020
i- someone take emma watson’s phone away pic.twitter.com/goMpwy7QIS
— 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 (@gayrauder) 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 |BLM (@repromantics) June 2, 2020
emma watson making sure she adds a white border to fit her instagram aesthetic for this blackout bs after having said zero things, posted zero links for petitions, donations and funds.. there's something wrong with her pic.twitter.com/fxi3pV7pBK
— maz (@Iewyndavis) June 2, 2020
emma watson has 57.1M followers on instagram, her first post about blm has over 1M likes and instead of sharing links to petitions and donations, she thought the best idea was sharing 🔳🔳🔳? tf is that, open your purse, SPREAD INFORMATION
— 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 (@gayrauder) June 2, 2020
she didn’t even say anything!!! just posted four hashtags and said yeah that’s enough activism for today
— gi (@regulusblackz) June 2, 2020
Other fans came to Watson’s defense, saying that she and other celebrities shouldn’t feel obligated to publicly voice their support. They also argued that’s it’s unclear if the “Little Women” star privately took action to support the movement.
no one has to to publicly announce their support. It is not an obligation. She could've decided to say something about her support now but that doesn't mean she wasn't supportive before. Again, it is NOT an obligation to publicize her support for this cause.
— ⟭⟬ 𖧵 michelle⁷ 𖧵 ⟭⟬ | Black Lives Matter! (@PlaceSeoul) June 2, 2020
We don’t know what she’s doing behind the scenes, if she donated money 💰 or planning something 🤔
— OfficialRadish! (@motorcross8) 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
Watson later shared two new posts on her Instagram, saying that she was “holding off posting until #blackouttuesday ended in the UK.”
Watson’s actions also drew criticism because she’s previously been outspoken about supporting various causes and initiatives.
The “Little Women” star is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador who has given speeches at the United Nations, traveled to other countries to raise awareness about global issues, and launched the HeForShe campaign in response to gender inequalities.
In addition, Watson created an Instagram account in which she shares images and information about sustainable, environmentally friendly clothing worn by her during press appearances. She’s also been outspoken about her support for Time’s Up and the Me Too movement.
View this post on Instagram
Thank you to everyone who has been part of TIME'S UP over the past year. 💗 From my sisters in the film industry to the activists and campaigners around the world who have supported us, I've been so inspired by the way people have reached out to each other, shared experiences and advice, and organised together as part of this movement for change. 🌍 Gender equality can only become a reality if we harness the transformative power of solidarity across professions and across borders. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There’s still a long way to go, but the achievements so far make me optimistic for a fairer future. 2018 was just the beginning. 💪🏻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🎉 See link in bio for some reflections on the journey of Time’s Up that I shared with @cnn.
The actress has spoken about being labeled a “white feminist” and acknowledged her privilege in a 2017 letter addressed to members of her book club, Our Shared Shelf.
“As human beings, as friends, as family members, as partners, we all have blind spots; we need people that love us to call us out and then walk with us while we do the work,” Watson wrote.
Watson isn’t the only celebrity to participate in Blackout Tuesday, or react to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Stars like Ariana Grande, Timothée Chalamet, and Halsey have participated in protests in response to the deaths of people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many more. Halsey was also seen assisting protesters who got injured. Other stars, like Seth Rogen and Harry Styles, have donated money to bail relief-funds.
- Read more:
- Here’s everything you need to know about Blackout Tuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused initiatives
- People are flooding social media with black squares for Blackout Tuesday, but critics say they could do more harm than good for the Black Lives Matter protests
- Drake, Chrissy Teigen, and Steve Carell are just some of the stars who’ve donated to bail-relief funds across the US