Fans are criticizing Riverdale's KJ Apa for not using his platform to raise awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement. While he posted a black square on #BlackoutTuesday to show solidarity with the cause, fans think he could do more to educate others on how to take action. On Twitter, comedian Elijah Daniel called out Apa for not speaking up, especially after starring in the 2018 film The Hate U Give, which tackles issues of racism and police brutality. KJ Apa's response to criticism over not posting about Black Lives Matter sparked a debate about white privilege.
It all started when Daniel told his followers to watch the Netflix documentary 13TH in order to learn more about the history of racial inequality in the United States. Afterward, a fan asked Daniel to check out The Hate U Give, but he said he already watched it. He then remembered Apa starred in the film, and questioned why he hasn't talked about the BLM movement on social media.
"I love that movie but I do have a question, completely unrelated to the beef I formerly had with him, if KJ was the co-star of that movie why is he so silent? he has such a massive young audience and got paid to be in a movie about police brutality and … posted a black square?" Daniel tweeted.
Daniel was referring to Apa's June 2 Instagram for the #BlackoutTuesday social media campaign. Many IG users shared a black square to show solidarity with the BLM movement, but others criticized the move for not being effective in bringing about real change.
In response to Daniel's tweet, Apa explained why he hasn't said more about BLM. "I don’t need to post about my opinions and beliefs in order for them to be real to me. I support Black lives – but I don’t feel it’s necessary to prove to people I do by posting my attendance at these protests," he wrote.
Fans weren't happy with Apa's response and tried explaining why using his platform is so important in times like this.
"Posting on social media is not to 'prove' anything. It’s to spread awareness and give resources to your followers to help. With someone that has such a big platform, one would think to use it to make a difference," one fan tweeted.
"I hope you realise that 'I don’t need to post about my opinions and beliefs in order for them to be real to me' just shows how privileged you really are," another fan wrote.
Apa's response comes after Vanessa Morgan, Asha Bromfield, and Ashleigh Murray shared their concerns about Riverdale not giving its Black characters developed or complex stories. Executive Producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has since promised to "do better" to honor the show's Black characters, showing how effective speaking up can be.