Skip To Content

    KJ Apa Defended His Silence On Black Lives Matter And Police Brutality After He Was Called Out And People Aren't Happy

    "I don’t need to post about my opinions and beliefs in order for them to be real to me," the Riverdale actor wrote on Twitter.

    Riverdale star KJ Apa is being criticised online after defending his decision to remain publicly silent on the topic of police brutality and Black Lives Matter.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    On June 7, comedian Elijah Daniel responded to a tweet recommending he watch The Hate U Give, a movie about the death of a black teenager at the hands of a white police officer, in which Apa plays lead character Starr's boyfriend.

    20th Century Fox

    "I love that movie but I do have a question," Daniel wrote in response. "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."

    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? https://t.co/2UP5mvWhiR

    (The "beef" he's referring to was a brief Twitter feud in 2018, when Apa took issue with the fact that Daniel said Riverdale sucks.)

    He also pointed out that Apa had done nothing but post a black square on Instagram for #BlackoutTuesday, a controversial campaign that was criticised by many for drowning out important and necessary voices and information about the movement.

    Instagram / Instagram: @kjapa

    He has since posted several photos of himself hanging out with friends.

    Now Apa has responded to Daniel's tweet, defending his silence and saying he "doesn't feel it's necessary" to prove that he supports black lives by posting about his attendance at protests.

    @elijahdaniel 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.

    Many people — including Daniel — took issue with Apa's wording, suggesting he doesn't need to "prove" his support for the movement, but rather use his huge platform to spread awareness for petitions and donations.

    why do white people think we want them to speak up to prove something? i couldn’t care any less about what you wanna prove. USE YOUR PLATFORM AND OPEN YOUR FREAKING WALLET. ITS REALLY NOT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND. https://t.co/X8kPBcJbss

    KJ Apa has been silent for weeks, but the moment he said something, he just put himself under fire. He could have humbly recognized his inaction and listened and done better, but he just defended his apathy and inaction. 😬

    "I didn't say you needed to prove anything," Daniel replied. "This was a question about you not using your extremely large platform after being paid to be in a film about police brutality."

    I didn’t say you needed to prove anything, this was a question about you not using your extremely large platform after being paid to be in a film about police brutality. https://t.co/bHMxsmM22A

    "You're causing more harm by staying silent than you would if you publicly announced your support for BLM," another person wrote.

    you’re causing more harm by staying silent than you would if you publicly announced your support for BLM. it’s not that hard to say that you support the movement, donate, and provide resources for others. use your platform for good https://t.co/SmT4YltMSd

    Others pointed out that, over the last few weeks, Riverdale has been called out for sidelining Black characters and paying its Black cast members less than their white counterparts.

    Cindy Ord / Getty Images

    Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa apologised recently after Vanessa Morgan, who has played Toni Topaz on the show since 2017, said she felt her character had been used as an empty display of diversity and "a sidekick non-dimensional character".

    "Change is happening and will continue to happen," Aguirre-Sacasa wrote in a statement. "Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it."

    "The least you could've done is comfort and support [your Black costars] but here you are trying to justify your silence," one person wrote in response to Apa's tweet. "Says a lot about what kind of a person you are."

    your black costars have been so vocal about the racism and discrimination they felt while working on show, the least u could've done is comfort and support them but here u are trying to justify your silence,,, says a lot about what kind of a person u are https://t.co/x2zOwHm8S0

    Another Riverdale fan pointed out the disparity between Apa's response to the movement and his other costars, who have been actively using their platform and attending protests.

    lili: attending protests and shares her platform with activists from the black community cole: attending protests and posts links to petitions and donations vanessa and ashleigh: actively vocal about blm and fighting for what’s right cami and mads: attending protests kj: apa

    In a post on his Instagram on June 1, Cole Sprouse — who plays Jughead Jones on the show — revealed he had been arrested while peacefully protesting in Santa Monica.

    Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

    "We were given the option to leave, and were informed that if we did not retreat, we would be arrested," Sprouse wrote. "When many did turn to leave, we found another line of police officers blocking our route, at which point, they started zip tying us."

    He went on: "It needs to be stated that as a straight white man, and a public figure, the institutional consequences of my detainment are nothing in comparison to others within the movement."

    "This is, and will be, a time about standing ground near others as a situation escalates, providing educated support, demonstrating and doing the right thing," he said at the time. "This is precisely the time to contemplate what it means to stand as an ally."

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here