Riz Ahmed

Riz Ahmed, who starred as Bodhi Rook in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story‘, was supposed to appear at April’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago, but he had to cancel, and now he has revealed that this was due to being detained by Homeland Security at the airport, causing him to miss his flight.

This revelation came during a panel at CAA’s Amplify leadership summit “focusing on diversity and multicultural issues across entertainment, sports, tech, and politics.”  Other celebrities in attendance included Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Nahnatchka Khan, Eva Longoria, Randall Park, Chris Paul, Storm Reid, and Yara Shahidi.


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After being introduced by Netflix commentator Hasan Minhaj, Ahmed stated:

“He can win a Peabody, I can win an Emmy, Ibtihaj Muhammad can go to the Olympics, but some of these obstacles are systemic and we can’t really face them alone, we need your help. I’m basically here to ask for your help, because it’s really scary to be a Muslim right now, super scary. I’ve often wondered, is this going to be the year when they round us up, if this is going to be the year they put Trump’s registry into action. If this is going to be the year they ship us all off.”

He went on to call for better treatment of Muslims in the media.

“How I do what I do is because like all of you here, I’m a code-switcher.  We all know how to change the way we talk, the way we dress, the way we walk as we enter one room or another. We all know how to navigate terrain that isn’t of our own making. That’s how I can do it, but that’s not why I do what I do. The why is because I don’t want to have to code-switch anymore.”

Well, to be fair, Bohdi Rook was an Imperial who switched sides, so…  Kidding!

At the time, Star Wars Celebration Chicago had to scramble to compensate for the loss of Ahmed as a featured guest, especially for fans who had bought tickets to his panel.

Airport security is a headache for everyone, but is necessary, in the wake of 9/11.  But, people of color, particularly Middle Eastern and West Asians do tend to be singled out.  Last August, three ‘Dungeons & Dragons’/’Magic: The Gathering’ artists from three separate countries, Austria, France, and the Netherlands, were detained by ICE at the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, before being sent back to their home countries, making them unable to attend an important brainstorming session at Wizards of the Coast.

The purpose of this CCA was to help movies and television to change the negative depictions of people of color which reinforce negative stereotypes in the minds of the public.  Hopefully, things will change, moving forward.


Source: The Hollywood Reporter