The cast of Lord of the Rings is standing behind the diversity in their new spinoff series, The Rings of Power, after racist fans of the show spread hate about the cast’s diversity and directed threats at its actors of color.
Several hours after cast members Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd shared a photo of themselves posing with a t-shirt that read “You All Are Welcome Here” in Elvish, the Amazon Prime show’s Twitter shared a powerful statement standing in solidarity with its cast.
“We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity and against the relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis,” the statement read. “We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it.”
The message continued by describing the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien as multi-cultureal by definition: “a world in which free peoples from different races and cultures 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,” the statement read. “BIPOC belong in Middle-earth and they are here to stay.”
The statement ended with a message of gratitude for supportive fans, specifically those of color.
“You are valid, you are loved, and you belong,” the cast wrote. “You are an integral part of the LOTR family — thanks for having our backs.”
Earlier in the day, some of the show’s original castmembers posted a photo of themselves posing with a t-shirt — sold by “obscure Lord of the Rings facts guy” Don Marshall and featuring ears of different skin tones — sharing their personal solidarity for the actors in the spinoff.
With each sale, 50 percent of proceeds will reportedly go to a charity that supports people of color.
The Rings of Power premiered on Amazon last week with 25 million viewers. The show, however, received backlash from racist fans angry with the character casting of actors of color. They claim their skin tones do not align with the original writing of J.R.R. Tolkien.
“Are you telling me Black people can’t be fake people too? Is that what you’re telling me?” Whoopi Goldberg said on The View about the racism surrounding the show on Tuesday. “I don’t know if there’s like a hobbit club. I don’t know if there are gonna be protests, but people! What is wrong with y’all?”
The series’ fantasy competition House of the Dragon on HBO has also received similar pushback from racist audience members.
Other high-profile TV shows and films have cast actors of color in roles originally portrayed by white people, including Halle Bailey as The Little Mermaid in Disney’s upcoming live-action, Kelly Marie Tran in The Last Jedi, and Moses Ingram in Obi-Wan Kenobi received hate for being actors of color in a formerly white fantasy show.
“Rings of Power has plenty of wonders to offer at the start. Now we’ll have to see if the show can keep them coming, and if viewers are as excited for them as [character] Nori is,” read a Rolling Stone review of the new series.
This article was updated on Sept. 7 at 7:45 p.m. to include a statement posted by the LOTR cast on Twitter.