Robert Pattinson is an English actor, film producer, and musician. He rose to fame playing the lead in the band of Hollywood actors, the ‘Burlesque Angels’. He has since gone on to star in several blockbusters, the latest being Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. In the last year, Pattinson has transitioned from Hollywood to music, releasing one album, titled Good Will Hunting and collaborating with musicians such as Stormzy and J. Cole on tracks for their albums.
Was He Just Being Funny Or Was He Pulling A Jerk Move?
When a celebrity does something inappropriate or shocking, it usually ends up on social media. Since the premiere of the fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu and AT&T have seen a 77% and 94% increase in revenue, respectively. Social media users are highly sensitive to this type of content and react strongly to content that they feel displays poor attitudes or inappropriate behaviour. One of the most contentious topics regarding Robert Pattinson is the accusation that he displayed blackface while filming in Australia.
What Is Blackface?
Blackface is the depiction of a person of colour in a racist or stereotypical light. The act of blackface is considered highly offensive, especially if the portrayal is negative or stereotypical. The wearing of blackface for comedic or satirical purposes is considered acceptable, however, the use of blackface to mock or humiliate an individual or group of people is most definitely not okay. Racism and racial profiling are still very present in our society, and it is important that we actively work to combat racism wherever we see it. In 2019 alone, there have been more than 50 reports of racist and xenophobic behaviour toward people of colour in the UK. According to the Anti-racist Education Trust (Arete), one in four secondary school pupils in the UK have been exposed to racial abuse or violence, while one in five have been threatened or attacked because of their race. It is very likely that Robert Pattinson was wearing blackface while filming in Australia.
Why Is Blackface Offensive?
Blackface is offensive because it is a form of discrimination. The racist stereotypes and negative portrayals of people of colour that blackface represents are deeply rooted in our society and continue to be used to this day, even among those who claim to fight for social justice. Research has shown that people who view themselves as champions of social justice are less likely to tolerate racism or racial profiling compared to those who see themselves as defenders of equality. It is likely that Robert Pattinson was wearing blackface while filming in Australia to make a mockery of Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people are among the most affected by racism in Australia and the portrayal of blackface in this context would almost certainly be considered highly offensive by members of the community.
Is There Any Evidence To Support This Claim?
If you follow the news in Australia, you will undoubtedly have heard that Robert Pattinson was filmed wearing blackface while filming in Australia. On March 11, Meghan McCain, a political commentator and actress, tweeted: “Robert Pattinson just revealed himself to be a horrible human being. Filmed in Australia. Wearing blackface at the Noosa Film Festival. Very disappointing.” She also shared a link to a news article that provided evidence of this claim.
McCain’s tweet drew a significant response. One of her followers shared an article by Travis Milne, which was published by The Geelong Advertiser on March 12, that discussed the incident.
“Filming The Man of Steel in Australia,” Milne wrote. “Robert Pattinson’s co-stars were visibly upset after he was filmed in blackface during a Q&A session at the Noosa Film Festival in Queensland. The incident sparked outrage on social media, with critics accusing the 30-year-old actor of cultural appropriation.”
Milne’s article was later picked up by other publications, including The Guardian and the Daily Mail. It also attracted the attention of Aboriginal leaders in Australia who called for a boycott of the country’s film industry until Robert Pattinson apologised. The hashtag #BoycottAustralianFilm sparked a trend on Twitter, with users sharing their frustration with the country’s famous film industry.
On March 13, the actor issued a statement through a representative. “I am deeply sorry for the hurt and the distress I have caused by wearing this attire,” he said. “To the many victims of racial injustice, I humbly apologise. This was never my intention. I do not condone racism in any form.”
On March 25, the ABC published an investigative piece into the Robert Pattinson blackface allegation. The news organization spoke to several people who had witnessed or been affected by the act of blackface, including a woman who said her grandad had a heart attack after seeing a photo of Robert Pattinson in blackface. One man said he was so upset after seeing the act of blackface that he considered ending his own life. And another woman said she had been bullied and ostracized by her community ever since the allegation surfaced.
In the article, Robert Pattinson acknowledged that he had “mocked accents, worn ridiculous wigs, and generally behaved like a complete and utter clown.” He went on to say, “I’m not proud of what I did, but I can’t undo the past. I’m not a hateful person, as much as I can be mischievous and a bit of a clown.”
When Is The Next The Handmaid’s Tale Episode?
As part of the #BoycottAustralianFilm movement, several celebrities, journalists, and politicians were quick to share their support for Aboriginal people in Australia. Many of them also pledged to boycott the country’s film industry.
On March 15, Rachel Brummer of The Guardian wrote, “I stand with Aboriginal people in their call for a boycott of the Australian film industry until Robert Pattinson apologises. It is outrageous to suggest that this is acceptable behaviour. This type of stereotyping and racism has no place in our society, and the fact that it continues to be accepted is a stain on our democracy.”
Brummer went on to say, “I won’t be participating in or supporting the Australian film industry until such time as this clownish behaviour stops.”
On March 16, Claire Meyer of The Independent echoed this sentiment and said she was “deeply disturbed” to learn of Robert Pattinson’s behaviour. “No matter how much we might want to deny it, racism remains rampant in our society, particularly against those who are perceived to be ‘other’,” she wrote.
Meyer called for an end to racist portrayals in film and encouraged others to join her in this endeavour. She wrote, “Let’s commit to ending racism in all its forms, including in our entertainment. It’s not enough for us to condemn it and call out those who perpetrate it. We have to dismantle it and ensure that our media reflects our values.”
On March 20, E! News released a statement: “We were initially unaware of the accusations against Robert Pattinson and have since been in touch with his representatives. We have also spoken with the production company behind the movie The Man of Steel and the distributor of the film in Canada. They have assured us that no scenes featuring Robert Pattinson were shot in blackface. We will continue to monitor the situation and avoid any future misinformation.”
Also on March 20, Wake Up, Hollywood! author Michael Arbeiter wrote on Twitter, “As someone who has worked in the film industry for over a decade, I fully support the call for a boycott of the Australian film industry. This sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable and has no place in our society.”