RIVERDALE actor KJ Apa has confessed he feels like he's "in jail" thanks to "judgemental" fans who can't separate him from his TV character.
The New Zealand screen star, 23, plays protagonist Archie Andrews in the CW drama – but had some stark words for a section of rathermore intense viewers of the Netflix series.
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Ex Shortland Street actor KJ bemoaned the fact his personal life is continually under scrutiny due to the popularity of Riverdale.
In a chat with Interview Magazine, he said: "As an actor, I will be judged on everything: my political opinions, my opinions on drugs, my opinions on the people I want to be with.
"Everything. It’s something I’ve had to come to terms with.
"I try and look at it from a fan’s perspective to understand the way they think. But there are times when I’m like, 'Wow, they really have no idea that we are actual people. They can’t separate us from our characters.
"You don’t have that in other professions. You don’t dissect the life of a builder and start judging the decisions he makes in his life with his wife and kids."
Yet it appears he has found new freedom in latest project, Songbird.
Speaking to his co-star Demi Moore for the interview, he added: "I felt so free coming from a show where I feel like I’m in jail a lot of the time.
"There are so many restrictions on what I can and can’t do."
Last year, his frustration between the blurring of his personal and private life appeared to show when he angered fans by insisting he did not need to post publicly to show support for the Black Lives Matter campaign.
KJ, who has undergone a hunky image transformation during lockdown, said he doesn’t have to “prove” anything to anyone, but his followers want him to “do better” and use his large platform for “good.”
Earlier this month, someone suggested to comedian Elijah Daniel that he should watch the 2018 film The Hate U Give, which was about police brutality toward black people and co-starred KJ.
Elijah tweeted: “I do have a question, completely unrelated to the beef i formerly had with him, if KJ was the co-star of that movie why is he so silent?
“He has such a massive young audience and got paid to be in a movie about police brutality and … posted a black square?”
The black square the comedian’s referring to is the Blackout Tuesday post that KJ put up, which was meant to help boost black voices speaking out on social media.
KJ then explained: “I don’t need to post about my opinions and beliefs in order for them to be real to me.
“I support black lives – but I don’t feel it’s necessary to prove to people I do by posting my attendance at these protests.”
One fan tweeted: “That is a major cop out my dude. You have millions of followers, why wouldn't you use your platform to do good?”
Another wrote: “Tf? That’s not an answer?…Do better.”
Other angry fans noted that he should be using “every opportunity” to post about his support of the movement because of how many people look up to him and listen to him.
“Be supportive, feed the change,” one told him, while someone else tweeted, “I hope you realize that [your tweet] just shows how privileged you really are.”
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