Samuel L. Jackson and Magic Johnson were the center of a social experiment this past week, which brought out people’s true politics. The two high-profile stars were mistaken for migrants on holiday in Tuscany, Italy and the social media world went nuts.
Jackson and Johnson (company name anyone?) were hanging together at a popular tourist spot in Tuscany. Magic tweeted out a photo of themselves seated on a bench with Louis Vutton and Prada shopping bags close by. He wrote, “Sam and I chilling out on a bench yesterday in Forte dei Marmi, Italy. The fans started lining up to take pictures with us.”
The image spread across social media, with some Italians assuming the actor and former basketball player were migrants. Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, has gotten intense criticism for her progressive open migration policy. This set the climate for folk to believe Sam and Magic were “lazy” migrants living extravagantly off state money.
Italian media personality Luca Bottura fed into this narrative to see how folks would react. In a social experiment, he shared the image of Jackson and Johnson with the caption, “Boldrini’s resources in Forte dei Marmi shop at Prada with our €35. Share this picture if you are outraged.”
The image has since gone viral with a lot of Italians expressing anger that the 35 euros they pay to accommodate refugees on EU quotas was being used on Louis Vutton. Bottura later wrote on Facebook: “The meme has been shared thousands of times and 40 per cent of people understood the provocation, 30 per cent were outraged and 20 per cent thought it was a racist meme and that I had failed to recognize Samuel Jackson and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, (I will not reveal the 10 per cent).”
Samuel L. Jackson has been around for over 20 years and people still can’t tell him apart from any other Black person, person of color, and now, migrant. Shame.