Updated as of 9/8/2022 at 8:58 a.m. ET:
Amid online attacks against actors of color and racist review bombing complaining about the show’s diversity, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s official Twitter account released a statement of support. It cites the “multi-cultural” world of J.R.R. Tolkien and emphasizes that this behavior won’t be tolerated.
“We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity and against the relentless racism, threats, harassment and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis. We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it.”
“JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white, Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in Middle-earth and they are here to stay.”
The series also received support from the cast of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Per TV Line, Elijah Wood, who starred as Frodo, tweeted a photo of himself and co-stars Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd in shirts that display “ears of the different Middle-earth races in varying skin tones, along with the phrase ‘You Are All Welcome Here’ written in Elvish.”
Sean Astin, who played Wood’s Middle-earth best friend Sam, also posted a photo of himself wearing a hat with the “You Are All Welcome Here” Elvish slogan.
It’s been really great to see more stars and franchises support their BIPOC cast, as it’s clear these trolls aren’t going away. It obviously doesn’t make a difference to the racists, but it lets Black fans know someone sees them and has their back. If these jerks paid close attention to the entertainment they claim to love so much, they would remember that good always triumphs over evil in the end.
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If you think you’re tired of reading about racist trolls harassing Black actors in the sci-fi/fantasy/comic book world, imagine how tired I am of writing about it?
Just this year alone, there have been online attacks against Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon, Moses Ingram in Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ms. Marvel’s existence, and most recently, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law for the audacity to have its lead heroine dancing with Megan Thee Stallion. Now, Middle-Earth has entered the chat, as The Lord of the Rings gatekeepers are not happy about the casting of Ismael Cruz Córdova in the Prime Video series The Rings of Power.
Since the moment the Afro-Puerto Rican actor was chosen to play Elven warrior Arondir—the first time a person of color has played an elf in a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings adaptation—his DMs have been inundated with “pure and vicious hate speech,” per Esquire.
“I fought so hard for this role for this very reason. I felt that I could carry that torch,” he told Esquire. “I made sure that my elf was the most Elven, the most incredible, because I knew this was coming.”
This is a phenomenon specific to actors of color and women. When Matt Smith (Doctor Who) joins House of the Dragon or Timothy Olyphant (Justified) guest stars on The Mandalorian, it’s all excitement and fanboying out. But an Afro-Latino actor in a story with elves, wizards, magic rings and dragons is just too much for their fragile egos to handle.
To the petulant man-children who refuse to join the rest of us in the 21st century: You do not own the genre! I’m allowed to see people who look like me in the entertainment I love. If you can’t handle that, the solution is very simple: don’t watch.
Ahead of the big budget series’ premiere, the Sesame Street actor tweeted a photo of himself with his parents in front of one of his billboards for the show. In the thread that followed, he explained the real impact of his casting and what it means to him and his family.
“It’s not about the billboard—it’s about becoming unmissable, undeniable, irrevocably present and rooted, as a people, as beings, as individuals,” Córdova wrote. “A huge ‘we are here.’ And we have been here.”
“Looking for zero favors but to live with the same chances to dream and thrive as anyone else,” he continued. “If you’ve ever felt discarded, marginalized, silenced—you are my people. And this moment is yours too!”
Córdova started his acting career by joining the drama club at school. He secretly pursued his passion until being cast in his first major role forced him to tell his parents about his real dream. They didn’t get it at first, but now they’re his biggest supporters.
“My heart was burning with an unshakable goal: To get to where we were told we couldn’t be. Here we are,” he tweeted. “To share it with the two halves of my DNA was absolutely surreal. My heart is full, of love, of them, and all of you who share this same fire.”
At least one Hollywood legend is done with this nonsense. Per Deadline, on the Season 26 premiere of The View, Whoopi Goldberg, who has starred in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stephen King’s The Stand, had some uncomfortable truths for these racist assholes.
“I want to start by saying these are not real. OK?” Goldberg said. “The new Lord of the Rings series, The Rings of Power and Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon are both massive hits, but they don’t exist in the real world. OK? There are no dragons, there are no hobbits you know, you know that.”
“Are you telling me Black people can’t be fake people too? I don’t know if there’s a hobbit club, I don’t know if they’re going to protest,” she continued. “But people, what is wrong with y’all?”
She then referenced the upcoming live-action version of The Little Mermaid, which is set to star Halle Bailey as Ariel, and let everyone know they’re in for a rude awakening.
“There are mermaids of every ilk. And you know why there can be? Because it’s the world that we would like to see better,” Goldberg said. “We would like to see as many people represented in fantasy. So all of y’all who have problems because there are Black hobbits, get a job! Go find yourself because you are focused on the wrong stuff.”