Author Rick Riordan, who penned the popular Percy Jackson novel series, is putting his fans on blast after they criticized the casting of a Black actress in the upcoming TV adaptation of the book series.
Actress Leah Jeffries, who is Black, landed the role of Annabeth Chase in the Disney+ series. In Riordan's books, Chase is described as being white, prompting some fans to publicly dispute Jeffries playing the part.
Riordan wasted no time defending the casting decision and putting the nay-sayers on blast.
"You are judging her appropriateness for this solely and exclusively on how she looks," Riordan said in a blog post on Tuesday (May 10). "She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white," he wrote. "Friends, that is racism."
Riordan said that Jeffries has been subjected to racist bullying and online harassment since the casting announcement was revealed last week and demanded the "out of line" comments stop.
Jeffries also spoke up for herself, addressing the hate in a video message.
"I know you think it's going to hurt me, it's not," she said. "You're just wasting time. I'm still confident in myself," the young actress added.
"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 her in the kind of hero they want to be," the author said.
Riordan has since started the hashtag #LeahIsOurAnnabeth on Twitter in a show of support for the actress.
A release date for the series has not been released yet.