There has been a lot of focus lately at calling out behavior that is harmful — no matter who the person is. We've seen people call out large celebrities, people with money and clout, and holding them accountable for the actions they take or the words they say, intentions there to harm or not. It's been a powerful movement to demand that people take accountability and the She-Ra creator is the latest to be taken to task. But what did Noelle Stevenson say that caused her to apologize? Let's take a look.
What is the controversy surrounding Noelle Stevenson?
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power showrunner Noelle Stevenson and members of "Crew-Ra," which are the crew members behind the show, were talking during a livestream on Thursday, Aug. 27 and Noelle retold an "inside joke" of Sam Szymanski's, a board artist on the show. What Noelle said sparked significant controversy once viewers heard it.
During the livestream, Noelle was talking about the process the writers go through in the writer's room and she appeared to make a reference to one of the show's main characters, Bow, who is a skilled archer. The long-running inside joke was that Bow had multiple siblings, each who had names that rhyme while also reflecting what it is that they do. These siblings' names included: Whoa, Woe, Oboe, Gogh, and Sow.
What did Noelle Stevenson say?
During the livestream, Noelle said, "There's like Oboe and he plays the oboe, and Gogh — like Van Gogh — and he's missing an ear." She continued, "[Sam] would come up and just be like, 'Which one of Bow's brothers likes to till the fields?' I'm like, 'Which one, Sam?' and he's like, 'Sow.' Sam was very big on puns."
It was that comment, about a Black character who "likes to till the fields" being named "Sow." Noelle was quickly called out for racist stereotypes about Black characters, and the connection to slavery.
Noelle Stevenson offered up an apology for what she said.
Although Noelle admitted to being unaware about the implications of the statement she made, she took to Twitter to issue an apology. She wrote, "Hey everyone, I made a very careless statement in today's stream that hurt a lot of Black fans and fans of color." Continuing, "The implications did not occur to me and that lapse in judgment is fully, 100% on me. I apologize wholeheartedly and I'm sorry for the hurt caused and trust lost."
"I take the responsibility of creating a safe and positive space for fans very seriously, and I've failed in that today," she added. "Thank you for making your voices heard. I will be rededicating myself to examining my language and behavior so that this failure will never be repeated."
Noelle finished her tweeted apologies asking for white fans and those not of color to not come to her defense. "And for white and nonblack fans, please remember that I do not need defending and do not harass or add emotional labor to those hurt by this," she said.
"I accept the consequences and will be taking serious action to make this right in any way I can."
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