Percy Jackson Author Shares Statement On ‘Bullying,’ ‘Racism’ After Backlash Over New Series Casting
Here's what Rick Riordan has to say...
After years of anticipation, the upcoming Disney+ adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Olympians found its trio in The Adam Project’s breakout star Walter Scobell as Percy, Empire’s Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase and Cheaper by the Dozen's Aryan Simhadri as Grover. Following the casting announcement, there’s been a lot of conversation about the new additions, including some reported “bullying” and “racism” that the book’s author Rick Riordan is now calling out.
Rick Riordan, who published the first Percy Jackson book in 2005, has been part of the casting process of the Disney+ series every step of the way. Following some online backlash particularly aimed at Leah Jeffries, who is a 12-year-old Black actress, Riordan had this to say:
In a statement on his website, the writer addressed the backlash by first saying that the response overall has been “overwhelmingly positive” and “joyous.” He shared his excitement for the young actress to become a role model for a new generation of girls once the Percy Jackson series becomes available (with a Disney+ subscription). He continued with these words:
Rick Riordan also pointed out that many objectors of the casting of Annabelle have been quick to qualify that they are “not racist.” He brought about the point that the people judging the actress are showing prejudice because they are judging her based on her appearance, without having seen an ounce of her performance as the character yet. The Percy Jackson author also said this:
Back in 2020, it was announced that Percy Jackson would become a series on Disney+ and, ever since, Rick Riordan has been hard at work at finally adapting his books in a way that fans can be excited for. The book series was previously made into a film starring Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario, but the actors were way older than they were depicted in the books. Ultimately, many of the studio decisions made fans unhappy and, after the 2013 sequel flopped, 20th Century Fox pulled the plug on the franchise.
All these years later, it’s great to see the Percy Jackson books getting the Disney+ treatment, reportedly with budgets similar to WandaVision and The Mandalorian. It'll likely still be a while before a premiere date is announced but, in the meantime, check out CinemaBlend's 2022 TV schedule for info on shows arriving in the near future.
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