Elijah Wood, “Lord of the Rings” actor addresses racist critics

The core cast of "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy are understandably protective of the beloved fantasy property. But they won't tolerate racism or hatred toward the new generation of Tolkien actors. Dominic Monaghan (left), Elijah Wood (centre), and Billy Boyd are pictured here. (From Elijah Wood)

Paris, 2022-09-09 06:52:38. Elijah Wood, “Lord of the Rings” actor addresses racist critics

Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, and lead actors in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy protect the understandably beloved fantasy property. But they will not tolerate racism or hatred towards the new generation of Tolkien’s representatives.

Several artists in the new Amazon series “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” have been cornered by hateful comments from viewers who criticized the choice of people of color like Elves, Dwarves, and Harfoots, among other fictional races. (Most of the roles were created for the show, including Silvan elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz C√≥rdova, and Princess Disa the dwarf, portrayed by Sophia Nomvete, two actors who were targets of hateful letters.)

Cast members have spoken out about the racist comments they’ve received, and now, they have support from hobbits Wood, Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd, who have played Frodo, Samwise, Merry and Pippin respectively. All four actors appeared dressed in clothes that read, in Elvish, “You’re all welcome here,” along with several ears of different characters in a range of skin tones. (Tolkien created various Elvish dialects for his works.)

The T-shirts and hats were made by Don Marshall, a TikTok user with over 590,000 followers who shares ‘mysterious’ ‘LOTR’ facts. Earlier this month, Marshall, who has expressed his enthusiasm for the new series and its new characters, asked his fans to help him identify users who left racist comments on his videos, saying he has already banned about 100 of them.

The Rings of Power cast also shared a statement via the series’ Twitter account with the hashtag #YouAreAllWelcomeHere, writing that they “stand together in absolute solidarity and against the relentless racism, threats, harassment and abuse of some of our colleagues. Color is subdued on a daily basis, we refuse to ignore it or Tolerance with him.

“Our world was not entirely white, imagination was not entirely white, and not everything was white in Middle-earth,” the statement said. “BIPOC belongs to Middle-earth and they are here to stay.”

Even the “Star Wars” franchise, which has experienced its own racist wave targeting members of color, spoke in support of the cast’s statement. The franchise’s Twitter account wrote: “From Middle-earth to a galaxy far, far away…

Last week, Jane Salk, head of Amazon studios, told the Los Angeles Times that while Amazon welcomes criticism, “we will not condone racism of any kind.”

CAST members follow racist comments

J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote the “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy between World Wars I and II and in the aftermath, some readers have accused him of adopting racist ideas in his novels, particularly in his portrayal of Elves, dwarves, and orcs. And Jackson’s trilogy of films, “The Lord of the Rings,” features people of color in crucial roles.

Meanwhile, “Rings of Power” features people of color in central roles, including Cordova, Numfit, and Nazanin Boniady who plays Bronwyn. The British-Iranian actress thanked “the persevering, courageous and resilient women of her country” for inspiring her character.

But some fans have been angered by the newly inclusive Middle-earth, sending hateful comments to the actors themselves amid reports that the series has been “bombed with review” (that is, flooding the internet with so many bad reviews that it misrepresents the true percentage of critics and viewers who loved it) .

Cordova, the Afro-Latino actor from Puerto Rico, is the first person of color to play Tolkien Elf, yet he has been inundated with “pure and fierce hate speech” on social media over the past two years, he told Esquire.

“I fought hard for this role for this very reason,” he said. “I felt like I could carry that torch. I made sure my elf was the most elven, the most adorable, because I knew this was coming.”

Nomvete also expected a hateful reaction to her casting, especially as she is the first dwarf woman in a graphic adaptation of Tolkien’s work. She told The Daily Beast that she focuses mostly on improving acting in the fantasy world.

“People of color do exist in the world. And so I find it absolutely insane that we don’t or can’t exist in the fantasy world, of all places.”

Other members of the cast have defended each other: Morvid Clarke, who plays dwarf hero Galadriel, told Inverse that fans are claiming the series is departing from Tolkien’s original ideas as unfounded.

“The idea that anyone could know exactly what he (Tolkien) wanted or would have liked is, I feel, nonsense,” she said.

Cordova thanked Astin and Wood for supporting the “Rings of Power” team.

“We belong in Middle-earth,” Cordova wrote.

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