‘Percy Jackson’ Author Rips Fans for Racist Response to Casting of 12-Year-Old Black Actress

Percy Jackson and the Olympians cast, including Leah Jeffries (Credit: Disney)

Author Rick Riordan is standing up for 12-year-old Leah Jeffries after online trolls voiced anger that the Black actress was cast in Disney+’s upcoming series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Jeffries recently landed the role of Annabeth Chase, who is white in the books, and angry fans immediately started to post racist messages on social media.

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Riordan said much of the reaction was positive, but he couldn’t ignore the criticism.

“The response to the casting of Leah has been overwhelmingly positive and joyous, as it should be. Leah brings so much energy and enthusiasm to this role, so much of Annabeth’s strength,” the “Percy Jackson” author wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

He then told the critics to direct their concerns at him, not the young actress.

“If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me. You have no one else to blame. Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong,” the 57-year-old author wrote.

Riordan called out the racist comments and preconceived notions of some fans by saying, “You are upset/disappointed/frustrated/angry because a Black actor has been cast to play a character who was described as white in the books.”

His post continued, “As strong as Leah is, as much as we have discussed the potential for this kind of reaction and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received online are out of line. They need to stop. Now.”

He added that he takes pride in the project and if you don’t like it, don’t watch.

“Watch the show or don’t. That’s your call. But this will be an adaptation that I am proud of, and which fully honors the spirit of ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians.’”

The first book in the “Percy Jackson” series, “The Lightning Thief,” was released in 2005. The series includes five books and revolves around a teen named Percy Jackson who discovers he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.

As forJeffries, the 12-year-old actress will play the daughter of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom alongside Percy Jackson star Walker Scobell and  Aryan Simhadri.

Jeffries’ other credits include Empire, Rel, and the TV movie Faith Under Fire.