Last week, The Office star Leslie David Baker shared the racist messages that he’s received since announcing a Stanley-centric spin-off series. “For those of you who don’t believe racism is still alive in the world… here’s the proof,” he wrote. “Our goal has simply been to entertain and give the fans a quality series. These rants are evidence that there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done here in America regarding racism. Bigotry and hate will not be allowed to irradicate art or Black people.” In a follow-up interview with USA Today, the actor explained why he decided to speak out.
“We’re living in an age in time where there is this movement. We would have thought that these issues would have been rectified years, decades ago. They have not. As a matter of fact, they’ve gotten worse,” Baker said, adding that the image of the burning cross has been replaced with “new technology”:
“We think that the old photographs that we see of people being persecuted on the way to school in the South and trying to vote in the ’60s, we think that all of those people have died out. They haven’t died out. They got married. They had children. They had grandchildren, great grandchildren. But they took those beliefs with them, and in many cases, they have not altered those beliefs.”
Baker has mostly received support since going public with the attacks, including from The Office co-stars Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer, but some Instagram followers have accused him of giving racists a high-profile outlet to spread their hate. He disagrees with that assessment. That’s like blaming somebody who gets mugged for being mugged and daring to talk about it,” he said. “If you’re on the receiving end of a racist diatribe, and then you pretend that it doesn’t exist, that does not help people learn from it.”
For more on the Stanley spin-off, head here.
(Via USA Today)