On the 13th of March, 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor was killed in her own home by police. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, the police had been investigating two men who they believed were in possession and selling drugs, and believed that Taylor’s home was at one point used as a meeting point to transfer a package. This, they felt, was enough grounds to execute a no-knock search warrant on her home, when police shot Taylor eight times while she slept, according to The New York Times.
Breonna Taylor was one of several healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic who sacrificed their time, energy and life to help others. And, in the wake of demanding justice for George Floyd, Taylor is one of various other Black people who were killed by police that people are demanding justice for—other names include Elijah McClain, Riah Milton and Dominique Fells. As such, the hashtag “justice for Breonna Taylor” began trending. Some demanded justice, while others were criticised for using her name as a meme, with a blase tone likened to Stan Twitter’s “stream [insert album or artist here].”
Over the weekend, Riverdale star Lili Reinhart shared a topless photo of herself with the caption, “Now that my sideboob has gotten your attention, Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been arrested. Demand justice.” As many on Twitter and Instagram immediately brought up, next to a model photo of herself, the post read as tone deaf and insensitive. Many called her plea to demand justice for Breonna Taylor’s tragic death ingenuine, and like an empty attempt at activism.
Shortly after, Reinhart removed the caption, harbouring more criticism, before removing the post altogether. Then, she took to Twitter to apologise and admit “I made a mistake with my caption.”
“I’ve always tried to use my platform for good,” she tweeted. “And speak up about things that are important to me.”
“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 continued. “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.”
Outside of this, Lili Reinhart has been using her 21 million following on Instagram to boost Black voices, share important information about how to be a better ally and promote protests. The Hustlers star also, in the middle of all this and in a post announcing she was attending an LGBTQIA+ protest for Black Lives Matter, came out as bisexual.