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'Rings of Power' calls out racism vs. cast members of color; 'Lord of the Rings' Hobbits show support

By NICK GARCIA Published Sep 08, 2022 11:56 am

Racists and bigots, you shall not pass!

Amazon Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power called out the "relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse" that the series' cast of color are facing daily.

Many netizens, including fans of English writer J.R.R. Tolkien whose magnum opus is the source material of the epic fantasy series, have been vocal about Amazon's casting choices in The Rings of Power. They claim that its casting is a misrepresentation of Tolkien's work, with some poking fun at the series for being "woke."

Amazon Prime was forced to disable audience comments since the show premiered on Sept. 1 (Sept. 2 Manila time), for fear of review bombing amid a sea of negative comments.

“We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity and against the relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse some of our cast mates of color are being subject to on a daily basis,” @LOTRonPrime's Sept. 8 statement on Twitter read. “We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it." It also used the hashtag #YouAreAllWelcomeHere.

The account pointed out that Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural—noting that free peoples from different races and culture join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil.

"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," it said.

@LOTRonPrime sent "love and fellowship" to fans, particularly those of color who are being attacked "simply for existing in this fandom."

"We see you, your bravery, and endless creativity. Your cosplays, fancams, fan art, and insights make this community a richer place and remind us of our purpose," it said. "You are valid, you are loved, and you belong. You are an integral part of the LORT family -thanks for having our backs.”

The statement concluded with “Namárië,”  which means “farewell" in Elvish, the language Tolkien invented for his work.

The original cast members of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy also showed their support toward the Rings of Power cast.

Elijah Wood (Frodo), Billy Boyd (Pippin), and Dominic Monaghan (Merry) shared photos of them together wearing shirts that have human, hobbit, and elf ears in different skin tones, as well as "You are all welcome here" in Elvish.

Sean Astin (Sam) also posted a selfie wearing a baseball cap that has the same message.

The eight-episode Rings of Power is set thousands of years before the events of Jackson's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies.

Its third episode will air on Sept. 9 (Sept. 10 Manila time). The succeeding ones will air every Friday (Saturday Manila time), until Oct. 21 (Oct. 22 Manila time).