By Leah Asmelash, CNN
The ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ author has called on fans to be racist after a backlash against the casting of a black actress in the upcoming TV adaptation of the popular book series.
Actress Leah Jeffries has been cast to play Annabeth Chase in the Disney+ adaptation of Rick Riordan’s beloved novels. In the books, Chase is portrayed as White, and some fans criticized Jeffries’ casting for not visually aligning with the books.
Riordan was quick to defend Jeffries and condemn haters in a blog post published Tuesday.
“You judge her suitability for this role solely and exclusively on her looks. She’s a black girl who plays someone who was portrayed in the books as white,” he wrote. “Friends, this is racism.”
Since the casting announcement was revealed last week, Riordan said Jeffries has been the victim of racist bullying and other online harassment. In his post, Riordan called the comments “irrelevant” and demanded they stop. Still, most reactions to the casting announcement were positive, he said.
“Leah brings so much energy and enthusiasm to this role, so much strength from Annabeth. She will be a role model for new generations of girls who will see in her the kind of hero they want to be,” he wrote.
On Twitter, Riordan also launched the hashtag #LeahisOurAnnabeth, which was trending on the website. by Tuesday afternoon.
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is a mid-level novel series first published in 2005, which follows a neurodivergent child who discovers he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god. Disney released two films based on the series – “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” in 2010 and “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” in 2013. A premiere date for the Disney+ series has yet to be released. been announced.
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