On Tuesday Evan Peters joined an unfortunate, growing club of celebrities who have landed in hot water on social media for posts regarding the protests that have erupted across the nation demanding justice for George Floyd and the other unarmed black Americans slain by police. The actor had retweeted a video condoning violence against looters; he later removed the post and apologized, claiming the retweet was an accident.
The original tweet included footage of police chasing looters. Its caption: “I can watch these piece of shit looters get tackled all day!!” After posting a black tile image, presumably as part of #BlackoutTuesday—although Peters did not include a caption or hashtag—the actor addressed his retweet.
“I don’t condone the guy watching the news at all in the video which I have deleted,” Peters wrote. “I unknowingly retweeted it. I’m deeply upset it got on my newsfeed. I sincerely apologize if anyone was offended. I support black lives matter wholeheartedly.”
But many on Twitter were not convinced. As several users pointed out, it takes two clicks or taps to retweet a post.
Either way, Peters is far from the only celebrity to get themselves in trouble on social media in recent days. The Hills alum Stephanie Pratt recently deleted a tweet in which she wrote, “Shoot the looters–using this tragedy as their excuse to rob and burn all of our towns down.” Ironically, Pratt was arrested in 2006 for stealing $1,300 worth of merchandise from the department store Neiman Marcus. She later posted another tweet in which she lamented, “My heart breaks for all of these businesses around LA affected. First the quarantine & now this.”
Lana Del Rey also recently deleted a video of protesters and looters that clearly showed peoples’ faces after being called out by Kehlani and Tinashe for putting the video’s subjects in danger. Tinashe responded by asking, “why the f— are you posting people looting stores on your page literally WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM.”
Fashion designer Virgil Abloh also faced backlash over his own posts condemning looters and subsequently posting a paltry $50 donation receipt to the organization Fempower. In an Instagram comment over the weekend, he wrote, “To the kids that ransacked [Sean Wotherspoon’s] store and RSVP DTLA, and all our stores in our scene just know, that product staring at you in your home/apartment right now is tainted and a reminder of a person I hope you aren’t. We’re a part of a culture together. Is this what you want?? When you walk past him in the future please have the dignity to not look him in the eye, hang your head in shame.”
Abloh later apologized, and clarified his remarks in a post that reflected on his identity as a black immigrant. “People who criticize ‘looting’ often do so as a way to make it seem like our fight against injustice isn’t legitimate,” Abloh wrote. “I did not realize the ways my comments accidentally contributed to that narrative. As mentioned yesterday, if looting eases pain and furthers the overall mission, it is within good standing with me.”
He also added that the $50 receipt was part of a chain donation; the designer said he has, in fact, donated $20,500 in total.
Taika Waititi, meanwhile, shared a video in which Killer Mike delivered a tearful speech to protesters in Atlanta, urging them not to burn down buildings and businesses. “Watch the whole thing,” Waititi wrote. “Eloquent. Clear. Everyone is angry but there is a way to direct that anger.” Several Twitter users criticized Waititi’s tweet for attempting to police black people’s emotions, as well as his patronizing use of “eloquent.” As comic book artist and illustrator D.J. Kirkland put it, “Taika. You’re not going to sit here and police my anger and my community’s anger. You are no one of us. Don’t you dare tell us how to respond. Keep your respectability politics to yourself.”
And then there’s Nirvana’s Krist Novoselić, who recently praised Donald Trump’s chillingly authoritarian law-and-order speech. In Novoselić’s words, Trump “knocked it out of the park.”
In his speech, Trump threatened to send the military to disrupt protests, which is illegal. Novoselić wrote, “I agree, the president should not be sending troops into states—and he might not be able to anyway—nevertheless, his tone in this speech was strong and direct.”
“Most Americans want peace in their communities and President Trump spoke to this desire,” he added. “Never mind the legal details that few understand—Trump said he would stop the violence and this speaks to many.”