‘The Rings of Power’ Cast Condemns Racism Facing Castmates of Color: ‘We Refuse to Ignore It or Tolerate It’

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The cast of the Amazon Prime Video series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” released a pointed statement on Wednesday condemning “the relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis.” The message comes after months of epithets and smears surrounding the decision by executive producers and showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay to populate J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth — including humans, elves, dwarfs and harfoots (e.g., earlier versions of hobbits) — with actors of color.

“Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural,” reads the statement. “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.”

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The statement also thanks fans for defending the cast, especially fans of color “who are themselves being attacked simply for existing in this fandom.”

Earlier on Wednesday, “The Lord of the Rings” stars Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan and Sean Astin posted to social media wearing merch that features the ears of Middle-earth creatures in various skin tones and the message “you are all welcome here” written in Elvish, the language invented by Tolkien.

In August, Amazon introduced a new protocol of delaying viewer reviews for 72 hours to weed out racist posts, starting with the series “A League of Their Own,” but the company has yet to publish any user reviews on Prime Video for “The Rings of Power” since the show’s premiere on Sept. 2. The show has been review-bombed on several other review aggregation sites, like Rotten Tomatoes, in what has become a common tactic by trolls to attempt to hijack the online conversation about shows that broaden their casts’ representation beyond white, straight, cisgender men. Other recent fantasy series, including Netflix’s “The Sandman” and HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” have faced similar onslaughts of racist trolling for inclusive casting — despite the fact that the original creators of both series’ respective source material, Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin, are actively involved in the adaptations.

You can read the full statement from the “Rings of Power” cast below.

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. 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.

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 LOTR family – thanks for having our backs.

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