Sebastian Stan plays Tonya Harding’s trashy dirtbag husband Jeff Gillooly in I, Tonya. I truly believe I, Tonya has what it takes to be an Oscar contender – it’s apparently quirky and weird and wonderful and full of amazing performances, with Margot Robbie’s Tonya Harding and Sebastian Stan’s Gillooly being standouts. So what if I, Tonya’s presumptive Oscar campaign is hurt by Sebastian being bad-at-interneting? On Tuesday, Sebastian posted this on Instagram:
I laughed. Does that make me a bad person? I believe that the conversation around freedom of speech in the NFL is important and vital. I believe that Donald Trump is a lunatic nutjob for making the “taking a knee” thing his most pressing issue this week. And I still laughed, because this dumb meme is actually kind of funny. It does no actual harm – it’s not really making fun of the #TakeAKnee movement, nor is Sebastian making fun of the issues at stake. He’s just doing a cheesy promotion for his movie, which is about his real-life character trying to kneecap an ice skater! But people were butthurt about it and he ended up apologizing:
In light of the ongoing national anthem protests, in which football players are taking a knee to show a unified front against police brutality and inequality, Stan’s Instagram didn’t sit well with followers.
“You might not want to use the oppression of others to promote your movie,” commented one follower. “Using protests regarding the murder of innocent black people in a country riddled with systemic racism to promote a movie via a s–tty meme? Yikes,” noted another. Others urged the “Gossip Girl” alum to delete the post, but instead, he issued an apology in the comments section.
“And finally, for anyone confused for whatever reason right now, please know this was not meant to be offensive or make fun of a serious matter, but a light-hearted way to promote my movie, which is ALSO about a very serious matter,” he wrote. “So before you start throwing things at me, if you know me, recognize where I come from and the kind of person that I am and what I stand for. I’ve been very vocal about that. Thank you.”
I didn’t even need that apology, but I hope that the people who were offended do take his apology – and the meme – in the spirit in which is was offered. It’s fine with me if he leaves the Instagram up, and I hope he does. He’s clearly making fun of the other “take a knee” situation – the Nancy Kerrigan situation – and not the NFL situation.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Instagram.