By now, getting angry about stuff that’s progressive and inclusive is kind of the alt-right’s schtick. But while that ire has usually been aimed at politicians or breakfast cereals, the ultra-conservative group has a new target: a galaxy far, far away. Yes, in response to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s diverse cast and female lead, the alt-right is boycotting the movie, spending the last month tweeting #DumpStarWars and encouraging their followers to skip the film when it opens this weekend.
When you ask prominent alt-right mouthpieces why they’re boycotting, they say the Star Wars franchise has become too politicized, and even explictly anti-Trump. The former might be true in a general sense—if you consider Rogue One’s writers and cast speaking out against white supremacy and hate as “politicized”—but by taking those criticisms as personal attacks, the alt-right is literally aligning itself with the Dark Side. More importantly, they’re doing it in a way that allows the alt-right to cast themselves as the oppressed rather than the would-be oppressors. It’s a lesson they learned from the grandaddy of all American white supremacist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic groups: the Ku Klux Klan.
#DumpStarWars: A History
#DumpStarWars started, as so many things have this year, on Twitter. On November 4, the mentions on the official Star Wars account already looked like this:
@starwars i am with the empire
— . . . (@LOKIsDestiny) November 4, 2016
But things heated up a week later when Rogue One writer Chris Weitz tweeted, “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization.” To which Gary Whitta, another writer, responded, “Opposed by a multi-cultural group led by brave women.” In response to a big ol’ backlash (and concurrent uptick in #DumpStarWars tweets), both deleted their tweets the same day, and Weitz apologized. But another tweet of Weitz’s remained up, and was even retweeted by Mark Hamill:
Star Wars against hate. Spread it. pic.twitter.com/Dtf5uqpxba
— Chris Weitz (@chrisweitz) November 11, 2016
That tweet—and mostly, the safety pin symbol, which after Brexit in the UK has become a symbol of solidarity with oppressed, vulnerable groups—was soon drawing attention on Twitter, as well as in the alt-right’s no-censorship, no-SJW social media watercooler, Gab.
Stop 👏🏻 giving 👏🏻 your 👏🏻 money 👏🏻 to people 👏🏻 who 👏🏻 hate 👏🏻 you! 👏🏻 #DumpStarWars 👏🏻
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) December 9, 2016