AceShowbiz - "Percy Jackson" author Rick Riordan has responded to racist trolls who criticized his decision to cast Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase for the new Disney+ series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians". The famed writer has set time aside to slam the harassment aimed at the 12-year-old actress.
On Tuesday, May 10, the 57-year-old writer issued a statement on his website. Condemning those who "have a problem" with the casting, he wrote, "Leah brings so much energy and enthusiasm to this role, so much of Annabeth's strength. She will be a role model for new generations of girls who will see in her the kind of hero they want to be."
"If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me," Rick continued. "You have no one else to blame. Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong."
Rick went on to note that the negative comments Leah has received online "are out of line," before stressing, "They need to stop. Now." He added, "You are judging her appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white. Friends, that is racism."
"There is power in plurality. The things that distinguish us from one another are often our marks of individual greatness... Anyone can be a hero," Rick highlighted. "If you don't get that, if you're still upset about the casting of this marvelous trio, then it doesn't matter how many times you have read the books. You didn't learn anything from them."
Leah herself has responded to the backlash. During an Instagram Live session, the Norah Samuels depicter in "Beast" said, "To whoever is hating, stop doing that. I know you think it's going to hurt me. It's not. You're just wasting time."
Rick and Leah's statement came after Disney+ announced the cast for its upcoming adaptation of Rick's best-selling fantasy novels "Percy Jackson and the Olympians". Walker Scobell is set to star as the titular character alongside Aryan Simhadri and Leah. Aryan will play half-satyr Grover while Leah will play Annabeth, friends of Percy.
Annabeth, indeed, is described as white in the books. The daughter of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, was previously played by Alexandra Daddario in "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief".