Emma Watson has responded to scrutiny after critics accusing her of jumping on a trend by posting a trio of black squares on her Instagram account as part of the “Blackout Tuesday” campaign.
Watson’s feed initially featured three black squares with white borders, accompanied by the hashtags #blackouttuesday, #theshowmustbepaused, #amplifymelanatedvoice and #amplifyblackvoices.
The posts attracted thousands of comments on both Instagram and Twitter, with some arguing that Watson, with a platform of more than 57 million Instagram followers, could have done more to amplify Black voices, especially considering her role as a U.N. Women’s goodwill ambassador. Other commentators highlighted Watson’s stylistic choice of bordering each black square in white, arguing that she had focused on maintaining the aesthetic of her Instagram feed instead of communicating a message of solidarity.
emma watson has 57.1M followers on instagram, her first post about blm has over 1M likes and instead of sharing links to petitions and donations, she thought the best idea was sharing 🔳🔳🔳? tf is that, open your purse, SPREAD INFORMATION
— 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 (@gayrauder) June 2, 2020
emma watson not saying anything for the whole week and then posting a black blank pic in instagram that won't help in anything is just the peak of white feminism
— victoire (@siriusclaw) June 2, 2020
emma watson gave a 1000+ word, fact checked speech about women's rights (heforshe movement) at UN headquarters but posted 3 identical pictures for blm on ig and logged off. this shit ain't addin up sis
— AOS S7 SPOILERS | ᵇˡᵐ🌈 natalie rushman lovebot (@widowsquake) June 2, 2020
she didn’t say a single word until now and added a white border for her insta aesthetic pic.twitter.com/0OW24UDM2e
— dilan (@enigmarih) June 2, 2020
Defenders were quick to point out Watson has frequently used her Instagram account to highlight Black creators and activists.
Imagine thinking Emma Watson is a white feminist. Emma has been uplifting black voices for years when it wasn’t a trend. Y’all are trash and I am NOT here for you dragging an ally #blackoutuesday #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/Gbs5W3gpVg
— THEE AALIYAH FAN (@Pogo5673) June 2, 2020
I will not tolerate Emma Watson slander on my timeline. She has always been for human rights with a focus on feminism. She’s staying in her lane and simply saying: LISTEN TO BLACK PEOPLE #amplifyBlackvoices pic.twitter.com/STuremmz51
— Dani (@danidanidanidd) June 2, 2020
Emma Watson has been speaking up about racism since 2015 but y'all want to cancel her because she posted 6 posts in order to amplify a movement. Don't talk about aesthetic when your fav never address issues on their Instagram. Emma's whole feed is giving voice to minorities. pic.twitter.com/yEdHlgpcZg
— green (@__LearnWithMe) June 2, 2020
Come on people, don't forget those who helped before and still doing it.
Emma Watson pic.twitter.com/JcQfTalLan
— Alexis (@AlexisRV54) June 2, 2020
Following the initial controversy, Watson added two more posts to her Instagram feed, one including artwork and a poem by Black painter Fahamu Pecou. Watson wrote that she had been “holding off posting until #blackouttuesday ended in the UK” and would devote future space on social media to sharing anti-racism resources.
The Blackout Tuesday campaign, which encourages people to post black squares to Instagram, was created by music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang. The campaign is part of their #theshowmustbepaused initiative “in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black citizens at the hands of police,” according to a message on the movement’s website.
Despite the campaign’s objective, multiple voices on social media pointed out that many people had used the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter when posting the black squares, inadvertently covering up information related to donations and the struggles of Black Americans during the ongoing protests in the United States.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.