The Author of Percy Jackson Has Harsh Words for Racist Fans Complaining About Disney+ Casting

After casting news surrounding the new Percy Jackson series on Disney+ sparked racist responses online, Rick Riordan, the author who created Percy, has spoken out. See what he had to say.

By Daniel Trainor May 10, 2022 9:12 PMTags
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The author of Percy Jackson is calling out members of his own fan base. 

Rick Riordan, who originated the character of Percy in the 2005 novel Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, condemned racist reactions to the casting of Leah Sava Jeffries in the upcoming Disney+ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Some fans have expressed anger that the color of Leah's skin doesn't totally match the skin tone of character Annabeth Chase's from Riordan's novels.

"This post is specifically for those who have a problem with the casting of Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase," Riordan wrote in a blog post May 10. "It's a shame such posts need to be written, but they do....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."

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The casting of Sava Jeffries, 12, who appeared on Empire as the daughter of Raven-Symoné and Jussie Smollett, was announced on May 5. She plays Annabeth, "a true daughter of Athena with a gift for strategy and a curious mind," according to Disney+. 

Riordan was firm in his stance that the young actress is exactly the right choice for the role—and it wasn't a decision made lightly. 

"I have been clear, as the author, that I was looking for the best actors to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and that physical appearance was secondary for me," he wrote. "We did that. 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."

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Sava Jeffries spoke out about the reaction on Instagram May 9, revealing that someone managed to get her kicked off TikTok following the casting news.

"Someone banned the account so now I have no more TikTok," she said. "I guess all the people that did not want me to be Annabeth or something, they literally took down my whole account."

However, she's not letting the online hate dampen her spirits. 

"To whoever is hating, stop doing that. I know you think that's going to hurt me though. It's not," Sava Jeffries said. "You're just wasting time. I'm still confident. Everyone else is confident. Everyone else is happy for me. So don't try to bring me down. It's not going to work."

Percy Jackson and the Olympians will begin production this summer.

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