Disney+ announced the cast for its upcoming adaption of Rick Riordan’s best-selling fantasy novels ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ — but racist fans aren’t happy with the casting decision.
Walker Scobell is set to star as the titular character alongside Aryan Simhadri and Leah Sava Jeffries.
Since the announcement, some racist Percy Jackson fans have complained about the casting of Jeffries, who is Black, as Annabeth, who is written as a white character in Riordan’s novels.
On Tuesday, Riordan condemned those who have a problem with the casting of Jeffries as being racist in a blog post published on his website.
“The response to the casting of Leah has been overwhelmingly positive and joyous, as it should be,” Riordan wrote. “Leah brings so much energy and enthusiasm to this role, so much of Annabeth’s strength. She will be a role model for new generations of girls who will see in her the kind of hero they want to be.”
Riordan continued, “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.”
He went on to blast the haters for the “negative comments she has received,” demanding that they “need to stop.”
“You are judging her appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks,” Riordan said. “She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white. Friends, that is racism.”
“If you don’t get that, if you’re still upset about the casting of this marvelous trio, then it doesn’t matter how many times you have read the books. You didn’t learn anything from them,” he said.
Jeffries addressed the backlash in a separate Instagram video, saying, “To whoever is hating — stop doing that. I know you think it’s going to hurt me. It’s not. You’re just wasting time.”
Leah is Annabeth and the racists will just have to deal.
A public announcement for #PercyJackson fans from Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries) ??? pic.twitter.com/t7fCxd6brD
— Percy Jackson Disney+ News (@updatespercy) May 10, 2022
“You are judging [Leah]’s appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white…that is racism.”#LeahIsOurAnnabeth
Read Rick’s statement at the link below:https://t.co/DGeOzrjZuw
— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) May 10, 2022