Harrison Ford defends use of n-word in Jackie Robinson biopic ’42’: ‘It’s historically accurate’

The highly-anticipated Jackie Robinson biopic 42 hits theaters April 12.

The film, written by Brian Helgeland, stars Chadwick Boseman, Christopher Meloni, Nicole Beharie and Academy Award nominee Harrison Ford.

42 tells the story of Robinson (Boseman), the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.

In 1947 the Brooklyn Dodgers, under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey (Ford), started Robinson at first base and ended racial segregation in baseball.

Moviegoers will see the hardships Robinson endured during his endeavor to integrate an all-white sport, including repeatedly being called racial slurs like the n-word.

Ford says the n-word was tastefully used in 42, and was necessary in telling the story of Robinson.

“It’s historically accurate,” Ford told theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon. “This is a film about a period of time, and about redeeming that period of time in which it was conventional and common to hear that word and others in characterization of people. The characters that we played worked hard to create circumstances in which that word couldn’t be used, but you can’t make a movie about applesauce without talking about apples.”

When asked if he thinks audience members from 42 will be offended by the when they hear the n-word in the film, Ford said, “No. I don’t think they will.”

“Just to hear the word is a powerful emotional reaction from many people… me included. If the circumstances that we’re talking about and the character that I play hadn’t worked with Jackie Robinson to change white baseball, the civil rights movement wouldn’t have happened as quickly as it did. So this is about racism, it’s about civil rights.”

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC