Whoopi Goldberg has stepped into the conversation about casting in the fantasy series Rings of Power, defending the series’ stars from racist backlash. The Rings of Power is currently on its fourth episode, and is competing with House of the Dragon to claim the title of best fantasy series on TV.
While House of the Dragon has been well received by critics and audiences alike, the reception to Rings of Power has been slightly more muted, with plenty of legitimate criticism being levelled at the series. In fact, our own Rings of Power review wasn’t exactly brimming with praise. However, part of the online conversation about the new Middle-earth TV series has unfortunately focussed on the skin colour of the cast.
Rings of Power boasts a racially diverse cast, and unlike the Lord of the Rings movies, the series has a variety of Black Hobbits and dwarves, in addition to elves and humans with darker skin tones. A small, vocal section of the audience have singled out this racially diverse casting, using it to criticise the TV series for deviating from JRR Tolkien’s source material. Unfortunately, this means that the actors themselves have been targeted with abuse.
Now, Goldberg has taken a stand against that criticism, and defended the actors from the backlash. Giving her thoughts during a discussion about the topic on The View, she said “There are no dragons, there are no Hobbits, and there are critics who are saying they were too woke by adding, yes, diverse characters. Are you telling me Black people can’t be fake people, too?”
Goldberg continued “We would like to see as many people represented in fantasy. So, all of y’all who have problems because there are Black Hobbits? Get a job, go find yourself, because you’re focused on the wrong stuff.”
The actor joins many other names in standing up for the Rings of Power actors, including fantasy author Neil Gaiman, and much of the original Lord of the Rings movies cast.
Hopefully, as Rings of Power continues the criticism will subside and the voices spouting the racist criticism, and directing it to actors will be filtered out. Then, future series can continue to make progress on diversity in casting without worrying about online harassment.
If you want more Middle-earth, check out our guide to the best Lord of the Rings characters.