Let’s Learn from Lili Reinhart’s ‘Tone-Deaf’ Breonna Taylor Instagram Post & Apology

Lili Reinhart
Photo: Getty Images.

On social media, influencers and celebrities are increasingly using their posts to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. Unfortunately, some of those posts miss the mark—much like Lili Reinhart’s ‘tone-deaf’ Breonna Taylor Instagram post. The Riverdale actress has since apologized for her post, which featured a photo of herself topless and referencing Breonna Taylor’s in her caption. Yes, at the same time.

In the since-removed post, Reinhart, 23, wrote: “Now that my sideboob has gotten your attention, Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been arrested. Demand justice.” Reinhart’s caption is one of many following a strange trend that’s emerged in recent weeks where social media users post a photo of anything from selfies to flatlays, yet issue a seemingly unrelated call to action to demand justice for Breonna Taylor—the EMT and Louisville resident was killed during a “no-knock” police raid in mid-March by three plainclothes officers (two of whom still have their jobs).

Other social media users have been quick to point out the meme-ification of Breonna’s death in posts like these, as they fail to fully center her life and story. “Breonna Taylor’s murder is not a joke. It’s not a meme. It’s not meant for your get clear skin tweet to go viral,” wrote Twitter user @itsny01_. “She was a real Black woman who was murdered in her own home. Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove are the cops who murdered her not just some cops.”

Reinhart picked up on the criticism shortly after sharing her post and immediately removed it from her Instagram feed. “I’ve always tried to use my platform for good, and speak up about things that are important to me,” she wrote on Twitter in response. “I also can admit when I make a mistake and I made a mistake with my caption. It was never my intent to insult anyone and I’m truly sorry to those that were offended.”

“I’ve tried very hard to be honest on my IGTV lives that I’m still learning and trying to be better,” she added, referencing sessions her Instagram Live takeovers and interviews with Black guests like Riverdale co-star Asha Bromfield. “But I understand that my caption came off as tone deaf. I truly had good intentions and did not think it through that it could come off as insensitive.”

Let Reinhart’s less-than-graceful mistake (and far more graceful response), be a lesson. Overall, when in doubt about your social media activism, make sure to do your research—and apologize for your mistakes.

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