Actor Stephen Amell has shockingly reversed himself, saying “I regret apologizing” to an African American woman who left an emotional statement on his Facebook page in 2015.
The “Arrow” star had landed in hot water on social media after he made a comment equating the treatment of a 14-year-old who had been questioned for bringing a clock to school to stereotypes lobbed against Texas, the state where the incident happened.
In September, 2015, Ahmed Mohamed was a ninth grader who was arrested after his teacher suspected that the clock that he created himself was a bomb.
Mohamed was not allowed to call his parents while he was being interrogated and did not have an attorney present.
News of his case went viral and soon the hashtag #Istandwithahmed was trending worldwide.
Even President Obama offered his support to the young student, and invited him to visit the White House.
Amell, whose wife is from Texas, weighed in with a flippant tweet comparing racial profiling and Islamophobia with Texas:
Stereotyping Texas isn’t any better than stereotyping Ahmed. Just so we’re clear.
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) September 16, 2015
A firestorm of anger on both Facebook and Twitter quickly overwhelmed Amell’s social media accounts.
The tweet prompted Arrow fan Jennifer Wattley to make an 11 minute emotional video, which she linked on Amell’s Facebook page.
She broke down the differences between prejudice and systemic racism and explained why stereotyping Texans was not as bad as racial profiling.
Wattley asserted Texas was merely a “plot of land” with no cultural significance and slammed the actor for his tone.
“You will never be the victim of institutionalized racism,” which affects “all non-white people of color” in the United States, she said to the actor.
“Your feelings are so secondary,” she tearfully added, “a little, brown 14-year-old boy named Ahmend took a clock to school and was arrested.”
After massive support of the video on his page, Amell offered a seemingly heartfelt apology to Wattley, writing:
Wattley, who had watched Arrow since it premiered on the CW network in 2012, graciously accepted the apology.
“Thanks Stephen. Seriously. Thank you.” Wattley wrote.
And that should have been that.
But, the following year Donald Trump’s election legitimized the alt-right and white nationalism around the world, and suddenly voices – primarily white men – were emboldened to make insensitive comments about racial and gender inequality without care or concern.
Changing social norms and the growth of progressive thought and politics have been powerful inspirations for anger and resentment on the far right since Trump’s election, according to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League.
It is within that environment that Amell, who plays billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, decided to take his apology back.
Appearing on the Michael Rosenbaum podcast “insideofyou” three years after the controversy, Amell was asked about it:
“But are you saying, ‘did you regret saying it?,” said Amell to Rosenbaum. “No.”
“I regretted it in this situation that it devolved into someone leaving a link to a twenty minute video that they put on YouTube about how I couldn’t possibly understand what it was like to live as a minority in the United States, or in Canada or frankly anywhere because of who I am and what I do and the color of my skin. It was so far away from the original point. It was not what I was saying at all.”
Without mentioning Jennifer Wattley by name, or even acknowledging his own lengthy apology to her in 2015, Amell made it clear he should have never apologized to her.
“I admire that persons courage to put themselves out there in a public forum, and I have no ill will towards them, but I apologized,” said Amell. “And I regret apologizing more than I regret saying it in the first place.”
LISTEN TO PORTION OF INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN AMELL ON INSIDEOFYOU PODCAST:
Referring to Wattley as “that person” and “them” is an interesting way to remember the person to whom Amell once said, “your voice is lovely.”
When asked about Amell’s regret over making the apology, a clearly disappointed Wattley told JimHeath.TV:
“I don’t have any comments on Stephen Amell other than to say I never think of him. And I’m no longer in the business of trying to help mediocre white men figure out how to be more considerate human beings.”
Amell, who had also apologized profusely in 2015 for his Mohamed tweet, is now making it clear he thinks he was right all along.
“These teachers, I’m sorry, they did the right thing in my opinion,” Amell said.
It is unknown whether the producers of Arrow, or executives at the CW network, are aware of Amell’s comments on the podcast which are available online.
The thought of a television star, who plays a heroic character that many young people look up to, reversing an apology to a young African American female fan is a bit mind blowing.
Ironically, the Green Arrow has historically been the most fervent mouthpiece for liberal politics in the DC comic universe.
Amell also got in trouble last April when he tweeted a joke about skipping Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella to watch HBO’s new documentary on Andre the Giant, released just a few days prior.
Heading to Coachella. When Beyonce gets on stage I’ll be watching*.
* – The #AndreTheGiant documentary at home because I left 20 minutes before she comes on.
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) April 14, 2018
In several more tweets, Amell clarified that he was joking and that he wasn’t insulting Beyoncé.
But, if he were insulting Beyoncé, he wrote, “Peoples capacity to take a tiny slight and fire back with deeply personal tweets is alarming,” he said. “What a bunch of fucking losers.”
BTW – let’s do a hypothetical and say I WAS insulting Beyonce. Peoples capacity to take a tiny slight and fire back with deeply personal tweets is alarming. What a bunch of fucking losers.
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) April 17, 2018