After an inundation of racist attacks, Amazon Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power has released a statement on Twitter expressing that they refuse to ignore or tolerate the “racism, threats, harassment and abuse” that some of their castmates of colour face daily.
When Black and brown cast members on Rings of Power were announced earlier this year, they were met with immediate backlash based on the colour of their skin. Claiming that the series is a misrepresentation of author J R R Tolkien’s Middle-earth, comments have emerged across social media rejecting the show’s diversity.
After receiving many negative comments following the show’s premiere, Amazon Prime disabled the option for audiences to comment due to review bombing suspicions.
The statement reads, “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 colour are being subject to on a daily basis.”
“We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it. J R R Tolkien created a world that, 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. Rings of Power reflects that. 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.”
It goes on to say, “Finally, all our love and fellowship go out to the fans supporting us, especially fans of colour who are themselves being attacked simply for existing in this fandom. We see you, your bravery, and endless creativity. Your cosplays, fancams, fan art and insights make this community a richer place and remind us of our purpose. You are valid, you are loved and you belong. You are an integral part of the LORT family – thanks for having our backs.”
Closing with the elvish word “Namárië,” meaning “farewell,” the post has been met with mixed responses. Some Twitter commenters have thanked the show for condemning racism while others suggest that Rings of Power harassment is about the show’s poor quality, not its characters of colour.
This racially charged harassment mimics similar 2022 incidents of abuse targetting talent of colour cast in sci-fi roles, including Moses Ingram in Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi and Leah Jeffries in the upcoming Percy Jackson series.
Bringing female-centric stories to the forefront
Morphid Clarke stars as Galadriel, an elf warrior who wants to stop evil from returning to the fantasy world of Middle-earth in the new series.
The series, one of the most expensive ever produced, airs on Amazon’s Prime Video on Fridays, with new episodes each week based on the appendices to the original JRR Tolkien novels. Clarke said her role as Galadriel gave her the opportunity to explore stunts that showcased her character’s power behind the backdrop of a historically male-dominated society.
“Gender is not the same in Middle-earth, in that you’re playing a character who can physically bring down guys around you,” Clarke said in an interview. “It was really fun to do.”
Co-executive producer Patrick McKay said that Tolkien had “some of the greatest female characters in literature” and that Galadriel was one of the first characters the creators thought of for the new story. “From the clues throughout the text, it was really fun to imagine what her world was like and what she might have struggled with,” McKay said.
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.