In an article of the same title in the Atlantic, John Hudson asks, "In Middle Earth, Must All Hobbits be White?" Hudson raised this question after the casting director for the film The Hobbit was fired after turning away a woman of Pakistani descent for being too dark to play a Hobbit and openly advertising for "light-skinned" actors only. To add insult to injury, a video of the casting director surfaced saying, "We are looking for light-skinned people. I’m not trying to be … whatever. It's just the brief. You've got to look like a Hobbit." When director Peter Jackson learned of the incident, the casting director was fired, and Jackson issued a statement through a spokesman: "The crew member in question took it upon themselves to do that and it's not something we instructed or condoned,” said a spokesman from Jackson's production company. "No such instructions were given."
It seems that as a director, if you've already shot three related films with no actors of color in them, then it would suggest that you condone all-white casts. Should we assume that no people of color auditioned for any parts, including that of extras, over the last 10 years of Hobbit-related films? As a director, you could say, this time, let's create a location in the many travels of the Hobbit that people of color actually inhabit. It is fantasy, after all — or is it?
Read more at the Atlantic.