Emma Watson says she’s ‘still learning’ after Black Tuesday backlash

Emma Watson
Emma Watson participated on Instagram in #BlackoutTuesday in solidarity with the black community.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

British actress Emma Watson has responded to a Twitter backlash over how she supported the #BlackoutTuesday initiative, particularly on her Instagram account. Some fans expected the former “Harry Potter” star and activist to post more meaningful messages and accused her of performative activism.

Watson, a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador and vocal supporter of the Time’s Up movement, joined Tuesday’s blackout across social media and posted three black squares framed by white borders. Each of them was accompanied by the hashtags #blackouttuesday, #theshowmustbepaused, #amplifymelanatedvoices and #amplifyblackvoices.

Some fans weren’t impressed, though, responding with comments such as, “Love her lack of energy! go girl give us nothing!” and “Don’t be shy use your platform some more.”


Three days earlier, the “Little Women” actress had posted three white squares, which prompted some followers to think she prioritized her Instagram aesthetic over speaking up about protests and social unrest sparked by George Floyd’s death from police brutality.

By midnight on Tuesday, Watson pushed out a row of three more posts reflecting on white privilege and systemic racism. “I was holding off posting until #blackouttuesday ended in the U.K.,” she explained.

One of her posts featured artwork by Dr. Fahamu Pecou called “White Lies, Subtleties, Micro-Aggressions, and Other Choking Hazards,” along with the artist’s poem “B R O K E N O P E N. ”

Another post included a statement from Watson that read, in part: “White supremacy is one of the systems of hierarchy and dominance, of exploitation and oppression, that is tightly stitched into society. As a white person, I have benefited from this.”

“I’m still learning about the many ways I unconsciously support and uphold a system that is structurally racist,” she added, before promising to share resources for “researching, learning, listening” on her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, J. Cole, Ariana Grande and more celebrities protested Saturday the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

May 31, 2020

Watson is among many celebrities who have participated in protests across the country and voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement on social media.


“I see your anger, sadness and pain,” Watson wrote in her Tuesday statement. “I cannot know what this feels like for you but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to.”