Percy Jackson: Rick Riordan and Alexandra Daddario defend Leah Jeffries from criticism | TV

Leah Jeffriesthe young actress chosen to play Annabeth, was defence from Rick Riordan And Alexandra Daddario after the criticism he received on social networks following the announcement of the cast of the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

The twelve-year-old had responded to the haters with a video shared online and the writer wanted to respond to comments related to the choice to change the physical appearance of the character compared to the novels.
Riordan wrote:

Leah’s casting response was overwhelmingly positive and joyful, as it should be. Leah brings so much energy and excitement to the role, so much of Annabeth’s strength. She will be a role model for the new generations of girls who will see her as the heroine they want to be. If you have a problem with this casting, however, blame me. You have no one else to blame. Regardless of the reaction to this post, we should agree that bullying and harassing a young girl online is wrong with no excuse. As strong as Leah is, as much as we discussed this potential backlash and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received outweigh the boundaries. We must stop. Now.

The writer recalled that from the beginning he had explained that they would follow Disney’s rules of non-discrimination and that they had committed to having a casting dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Rick pointed out that the phase of selecting the actors was very long and complex:

I must be clear, being the author, that I was looking for the best actors to play and bring to life the personalities of these characters and that, for me, the physical aspect was secondary. We did it. It took us a year to go through this process and find the best of the best. This trio is the best. Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.

The creator of Percy Jackson then criticized those who claim not to be racist and believes that the choice of the actress is wrong because in the novels the character is described as white:

You are unaware of, or ignored, the years of hard work with which Leah has outlined her skills, her talent, her tenacity, her focus and her stage presence. You refuse to believe that she was chosen for merit. Without seeing her playing the role you have prejudiced (thus having a prejudice) and decided that she must have been hired simply to fill a percentage or cross diversity off the list. And, for the record, these criticisms have come regardless of political orientation. You decided it couldn’t mean what I’ve always said: that the true nature of the character is in her personality. Did you think I must have been coerced, brainwashed, tricked, threatened or whatever because I, being a white author, would never have chosen a black actress to play this girl who according to the canon is white. You refuse to believe me, the guy who wrote the novels and created these characters, when I say that these actors are perfect for the roles because the talent they have and the way they used it during their auditions expands, improves and it makes the jokes they give him exciting. When you see Leah in the role of Annabeth she will become exactly as you imagined Annabeth, assuming you give her that chance, but you refuse to take it into consideration. You are judging how appropriate she is for this role solely and exclusively on her appearance, she is a black girl who plays someone who is described in the books as a young white girl. Friends, that’s racism.

Rick Riordan pointed out that having prejudices is normal and one should be aware of it, since all people have them, face them and strive to improve.
The writer reiterated:

Percy Jackson’s main message has always been that difference is strength. There is power in the group. The things that distinguish us from each other often mark our individual greatness. You shouldn’t be judging someone by how well they fit the ideas they have. That neurodivergent kid who has had problems in six schools, for example, could be the son of Poseidon. Anyone can be a hero. If you don’t get it, if you’re still blown away by the casting of this wonderful threesome, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve read the books. You have learned nothing in doing this.

Riordan reiterated that the series will be a proud adaptation that honors the spirit of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Also defending Leah was Alexandra Daddario, who had the role of Annabeth in the films, claiming on Twitter that she will be fantastic in the role.

What do you think of Rick Riordan and Alexandra Daddario’s comments on casting criticism of Percy Jackson? Leave a comment!

Source: Rick Riordan’s Blog, Twitter

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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