Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has finally aired its first two episodes. While the show is currently on an impressive 85% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, it boasts a measly 39% audience score.
Many have found fault in the show’s casting, specifically the diversity of it. Social media was filled with discriminatory comments aimed overwhelmingly at the Black cast members, which includes Lenny Henry, Ismael Cruz Cordova and Thusitha Jayasundera.
This prompted the cast to rise up and release a statement on Twitter condemning any such behaviour from people. They said they “refuse to ignore or tolerate” any racism or harassment towards the cast.
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) September 7, 2022
“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,” the statement read.
“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.” The statement concluded by recognising the POC fans of the show and acknowledging them as an “integral part of LOTR family”.
Jen Salke, the Head of Amazon Studios also spoke against racism and said while the studio welcomes discussion, they “will not condone any racism.”
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Cast member Lenny Henry already spoke about the inevitable backlash to The Times in August, saying “the industry needs to change.”