Right-wing bigots are no longer holding back their hate, this time directing their vitriol towards non-white entertainers cast in prominent roles in popular tv shows and movies.
Armed with little more than perceived victimhood and fear of being “replaced,” racist right-wing trolls have bombarded actors of color with hateful direct messages and comments on social media.
Afro-Latino actor Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays Elven warrior Arondir in Amazon Studio’s $1 billion Lord of the Rings prequel, The Rings of Power, is the first Black actor to play an elf in Middle Earth.
Despite receiving a daily trove of hate speech in his DMs for over two years since landing the role, the native of Puerto Rico will not be deterred. He told Esquire magazine that he spent his life preparing for “visibility and representation” among poor communities and communities of color.
“I fought so hard for this role for this very reason,” he says. “I felt that I could carry that torch. I made sure that my elf was the most Elven, the most incredible, because I knew this was coming.”
It’s not about the billboard – it’s about becoming unmissable, undeniable, irrevocably present and rooted, as a people, as beings, as individuals. A huge “we are here”. And we have been here. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/pCLUlVWNh3
— Ismael Cruz Cordova (@IsmaelC_C) September 3, 2022
When 12-year-old Leah Jeffries was cast as Annabeth Chase on the Disney+ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the pre-teen was subjected to vile and racist abuse online — so much so that the author Rick Riordan himself released a statement calling the bigots out for trolling a child, and defending the young actress.
“This post is specifically for those who have a problem with the casting of Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase. It’s a shame such posts need to be written, but they do,” Riordan wrote.
“If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me. You have no one else to blame. Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong. As strong as Leah is, as much as we have discussed the potential for this kind of reaction and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received online are out of line. They need to stop. Now.”
From Star Wars to Star Trek — Middle Earth and beyond — new and old favorites are beginning to reflect the diversity of their audiences.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has shaken things up with the sex and race of cast members. 25 yrs ago. singer and actress Brandi became the first African-American to play Cinderella. The 1997 film, not only had a multi-cultural cast — but shattered viewership records.
Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the last of the culture wars in the new right-wing Trumpian nightmare that we are trapped in— a place where diversity and inclusion are seen as the enemy.
For years, the right has derided affirmative action and repeatedly said “the most qualified” should get the job — whatever that job may be. But, the pearl-clutching and trolling when the “best” happens to be a person of color — I think it’s safe to say that by best, what they really mean is white.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
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