Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan slams ‘racist’ trolls over Leah Sava Jeffries reaction | Entertainment

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‘Percy Jackson’ author Rick Riordan has defended Leah Sava Jeffries against ‘racist’ trolls online.

The writer addressed the backlash over Jeffries being cast as Annabeth Chase – who was played by Alexandra Daddario in the 2010 and 2013 films – in the upcoming Disney+ series, with the young actress facing despicable abuse because ‘she doesn’t match the physique of the character description in the book.

On her website, Riordan wrote, “You judge her suitability for this role solely and exclusively on her looks. She’s a black girl playing someone who was portrayed in the books as white.

“Friends, this is racism.”

He also pointed to his own involvement in the casting and called out the criticism for “bullying and harassing a child online”.

He added: “If you have a problem with this casting, however, speak with me. You have no one else to blame.

“Whatever else you take away from this article, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong.

“As strong as Leah is, even though we’ve discussed the potential for this type of backlash and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she’s received online are irrelevant. They need to stop. Now. “

While noting that the response was “extremely positive and joyful”, he wanted to address “those who have a problem with the casting”.

He noted that he supports Disney’s policy of blind casting and non-discrimination, and insisted that the focus was on “the personalities of these characters”.

He said: “I made it clear as a writer that I was looking for the best actors to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and physical appearance was secondary to me.

“We did this. We took a year to do this process thoroughly and find the best of the best. This trio is the best. Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.

Riordan insisted that anyone still complaining about the decision was rejecting not only the star’s talent, but also his own integrity – and that they misunderstood his books.

He continued, “If you don’t understand that, if you’re still upset about the cast of this wonderful trio, then it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve read the books. You haven’t learned anything from them.

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