New Zealand film-maker Taika Waititi is facing backlash for his comments on protests raging across the US and around the world, sparked by the death of American George Floyd.

Floyd died after he was arrested over suspected use of a counterfeit $20 bill and pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer who refused to take his knee off the 46-year-old's neck.

Footage of the incident swept social media and the officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with murder. Meanwhile, riots and protests have erupted across the US, re-invoking the Black Lives Matter movement.

While celebrities around the world have weighed in, Oscar-winning Waititi's tweets on the matter have been met with criticism.

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Commenting on looting by "protesters", he was rebuffed by followers.

One woman responded with an expletive-ridden comment: "You need to grow the f*** up, Taika. This is not the f*** time to be cracking this goofy-ass, wack-ass joke. F*** is wrong with you? Open you f*** purse or shut the f*** up."

She went on to share a series of links for donating to bail funds.

Another follower wrote: "A black man was suffocated to death by police ON CAMERA. i love you but this is tone deaf as hell."

And some suggested his commentary inappropriate given the context of his recent film, Jojo Rabbit.

"Not this from the guy who made the 'not all nazis' movie," wrote one.

However, there were tweets in support of the film-maker's comment, with some saying they believed Waititi's statement had been misunderstood:

Waititi also shared protester Killer Mike's video discussing Floyd's murder and the endurance of systemic racism.

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"I watched a white officer assassinate a black man. I know that tore your heart out. I know it's crippling," Mike say in his video.

"It's your duty to not burn your house down for anger. It's your duty to fortify your own house, so that may be a house of refuge.

"Now is the time to plot, plan, strategise and mobilise. It is time to beat up prosecutors you don't like."

Waititi captioned his tweet: "Watch the whole thing. Eloquent. Clear. Everyone is angry but there is a way to direct that anger."

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But again, followers were not impressed. One commented: "Taika, you're not black, and in the same way black people don't get to tell you the best way to cope with things happening to Māori folks, you don't get to tell us the best way to cope with being black in America."

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And another tweeted: "You are NOT black. You don't get to police us at all. Stay in your place."