New Star Wars series The Acolyte review-bombed by bigots and angry fans amid ‘woke’ backlash

Promotional photo for The Acolyte

Disney’s new Star Wars series has been review-bombed by people angry about the diversity in the show, with many people googling “why is The Acolyte getting hate?” as a result.

According to Forbes, The Acolyte is “the lowest user-scored product in 50 years of Star Wars history” and “has amassed quadruple the reviews of the longest-running Star Wars series, The Clone Wars“.

The Acolyte has been running on Disney+ for three weeks and is down to just 13 per cent of user scores, with IMDB rating it as 3.3 out of 10, and 58 per cent of the 66,000 reviewers awarding it just one star.

Forbes says the low approval rates are linked to the “racism, misogyny and overall harassment of the cast which has poisoned every conversation about this show”.

The series has faced a backlash after casting trans, non-binary and Black actors.

Amandla Stenberg, who plays twin sisters Osha and May, is gay and Black, while Abigail Thorn (Ensign Eurus) made history by becoming the sci-fi franchise’s first trans actress.

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Other stars who identify as LGBTQ+ include Chicago Fire and Arrow actor Charlie Barnett, and Rebecca Henderson, who is married to The Acolyte‘s creator Leslye Headland.

The plot itself contains queer themes, with a recent episode featuring a female force-sensitive couple – dubbed “lesbian space witches”.

Speaking to The New York Times last month, Headland said: “I stand by my empathy for Star Wars fans, but I want to be clear: anyone who engages in bigotry, racism or hate speech… I don’t consider a fan.”

The show received positive reviews from critics but, as the review-bombing suggests, it has divided Star Wars fans.

So, why is The Acolyte getting hate? Well, the short answer is: many feel the show doesn’t fit into the rest of the franchise’s canon and are unhappy with some of the creative choices being made – and the LGBTQ+ cast.

But some of those looking to review-bomb The Acolyte have apparently not targeted the right product, posting poor reviews of the 2008 Australian horror film Acolytes by mistake.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Acolytes has a critic score of 84 per cent and an audience score of 16 per cent.

Stenberg previously brushed off the suggestion that the series was overly “woke”, telling British GQ: “There’s a vast array of Star Wars fans. There is a specific kind of Star Wars fan [who’s] very vocal on the internet. They’ve call our show The Woke-alyte, which I’m like, ‘OK, what about it?’

“Prejudice, on some level, of course, affects me, even if it’s subconsciously, and there’s work that I need to do around that to protect myself. But in my conscious mind, it doesn’t bother me because it’s stupid and kind of funny.”

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