Thandie Newton experienced foot in mouth syndrome after a wave of criticism came once she proclaimed she was the first dark-skinned woman in a lead “Star Wars” role.
“I am the first dark-skinned woman in a lead role in the ‘Star Wars’ legacy, which is both great, that it is finally a correction, and awful, that it’s taken this long,” Newton, who plays Val in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” told The Guardian Saturday, May 19.
The remarks were met with backlash from Twitter users who were puzzled about how Newton, who is light-skinned, could consider herself dark compared to someone like Lupita Nyon’o, who also played in the sci-fi franchise, albeit as a CGI character.
“Thandie Newton is not and will never be dark skinned so that’s that on that,” someone said.
“Thandie Newton [has] dark skin, therefore, there needs to be a new category,” another user said. “Charcoal perhaps. Midnight idk. Cuz lmfaoooo we not the same.”
Thandie Newton is dark skinned… to whom? pic.twitter.com/AHUSopjBos
— open your purse: who’s next? (@soulflora) May 20, 2018
In response, Newton expressed regret for her controversial remarks.
“Eugh I need to stop with the yap yap yappin’ and just BE the change in the world I wish to see 😔 @StarWarsMovies #Colorism,” she tweeted with a video of wind-up chomping teeth.
— Thandie Newton OBE (@thandienewton) May 20, 2018
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” a fan replied. “We’re all complicit in our oppression every once in a while. It’s just how the system is setup mama.”
“Thank you,” Newton responded. “I’m literally crying from the harsh criticism, when I’ve spent my adult life-fighting oppression against women of color, in Africa and everywhere @VDay @AAPolicyForum. It’s a day to be with my children and remember what love is x.”
The actress also retweeted a post from someone explaining how the idea of being dark-skinned versus light-skinned doesn’t necessarily exist outside of America.
“The dark skin/light skin is largely an American construct,” the person tweeted. “That’s not to say that colorism doesn’t exist it’s just different. In most Euro countries if you are not white you’re dark.”
And others offered similar responses to Newton’s initial comments.
“Lord y’all went in on Thandie Newton about her dark skin comment? ☹️ she was speaking [relative] to white people her skin is dark,” someone said. “Gotdamn it Americans.”
“People getting mad about Thandie Newton’s use of ‘dark-skinned’ really need to realize not everything is from an American POV. Clowns,” someone else said.