Rick Riordan, author of the books Percy Jackson and the Olympians, wrote a letter supporting Leah Jeffries.
The twelve-year-old actress has been suffering a huge wave of hate on social media since she was cast as Annabeth Chase in the Percy Jackson series that is currently in development on Disney+.
The attacks are mostly racial, as the young black woman was cast to give life to a character who, in the books, was white, despite the author Rick Riordan himself having declared that, in the selection of the cast, he gave priority to the feelings of the actors / characters instead of appearance.
On his website, he published a letter defending Leah Jeffries. Check out a snippet below:
Rick Riordan’s letter
The letter published by Rick Riordan is long, and below we have translated some of the most important passages.
“If you have a problem with this squad, however, talk to me. You have no one else to blame. Whatever you take away from this post, we must agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong. As strong as Leah is, as much as we’ve discussed the potential for that kind of backlash and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she’s received online are out of line. They need to stop. Now.”
“Some of you are apparently offended or exasperated when your objections are called racist online. ‘But I’m not racist,’ you say. ‘It’s not racist to want an actor who is true to the character’s description in the book!’ Let’s examine this statement. You are upset/disappointed/frustrated/angry that a black actor was cast to play a character that was described as white in the books. ‘She doesn’t look the way I always imagined.’”
“You decided I couldn’t say what I’ve always said: that the character’s true nature lies in his personality. You feel like I must have been coerced, brainwashed, bribed, threatened, whatever, or I, as a white author, would never have chosen a black actor for the role of this canonically white girl.”
“You refuse to believe me, the guy who wrote the books and created these characters, when I say that these actors are perfect for the roles because of the talent they bring and the way they used their auditions to expand, improve, and electrify people. speeches they were given. Once you see Leah as Annabeth, she will become exactly the way you imagine Annabeth, assuming you give her that chance, but you refuse to believe that can be true.”
“You are judging her suitability for this role solely and solely by her appearance. She is a black girl playing someone who has been described in the books as white. Friends, this is racism.”
The cast of the new Percy Jackson series
It had already been announced that Walker Scobell would play Percy Jackson in the eponymous series, and in more recent updates, we’ve learned that Leah Sava Jeffries will play Annabeth Chase, while Aryan Simhadri has taken the role of Grover Underwood.
The new Percy Jackson series promises to be more faithful to the books, with Rick Riordan as one of the producers.
So far, there is no release date for the Disney+ Percy Jackson series.
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