Gina Rodriguez breaks down in tears responding to claims she's 'anti-black'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Gina Rodriguez got emotional responding to online critics who called her “anti-black” for comments she made late last year about pay equality — but her response to the topic is drawing even more criticism.

The Miss Bala and Jane the Virgin actress, 34, told Porter Edit in November, “I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? Where white women get paid more than black women, black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into.” (She had previously been criticized in July 2017 after she tweeted about Black Panther, “Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend…” Critics felt she should have been celebrating the fact that the film was important for black representation on screen.)

Gina Rodriguez on SiriusXM’s <em>Sway in the Morning</em> on Tuesday. (Photo: Maro Hagopian)
Gina Rodriguez on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning on Tuesday. (Photo: Maro Hagopian)

While appearing on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning on Tuesday, Rodriguez was asked about the social media backlash from African American women, who felt the comparison wasn’t fair, and she broke down in tears while responding. “I always find it difficult to talk about equal pay as a woman who makes a substantial amount of money. As somebody who came from poverty to now the amount of money that I get paid, it doesn’t feel right that I’m the one talking about I because I’m so damn grateful,” she began.

Rodriguez’s comments on the topic start at the 12-minute mark:

“What I was saying was that when we talk about equal pay, we have to talk about intersectionality because we all must rise. So the backlash was devastating, to say the least because,” she paused to compose herself, then continued, “because the black community was the only community I looked towards growing up. We didn’t have many Latino shows and the black community made me feel like I was seen, so to get ‘anti-black’ is to say I’m anti-family. My father is dark-skinned. He is Afro-Latino… It’s in my blood. So it was really devastating to me. And I know my heart. I know what I meant. I really wish that we weren’t living in a culture where we’re clickbait because I’ve never said anything controversial about anybody.”

Rodriguez said going through the incident was “really f***ing hard” and she described it as a “really, really dark time for me.” She explained, “It made me get away from social media because my mental health is much more important to me, especially when I know my intention. The last thing I want to do is put two under-represented groups against each other. Our unification is what is our rise. Our unification is what is going to allow both of our communities to continue to flourish.”

As for not speaking out earlier, she said, “What do you say — sorry for cheating when you didn’t cheat?” She said “never in a million years” would she have disparaged the black community. “That is so far from who I am. However, she did offer an apology — with a caveat. “If I have hurt you, I am sorry, and I will always be sorry, but you have to know, until you know my heart, there is no way we can live off clickbait,” she said.

Rodriguez’s new interview has been trending on Twitter and many are not responding well.

People are also taking issue over whether her father is dark-skinned.

However, she does have defenders.

And, though there is a lot of hate circulating, some of her critics won’t go so far as to “cancel” her because they like her work.

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