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‘Why Are You So Bothered By a Black Girl?’: Fans Defend Percy Jackson and the Olympians Star Leah Jeffries After Trolls Slam Her of Race-Swapping in Show’s Official First Look

The forthcoming TV series Percy Jackson and the Olympians has unveiled the first exclusive look of the cast on the set. While fan reactions have been mostly overwhelmingly positive, there’s another side to the fandom consisting of the trolls who have expressed unfavorable judgment, concerning the casting choices — especially Leah Jeffries’ portrayal of Annabeth Chase. Previously, following supposed backlash concerning woke inclusivity and comments tinged with prejudice, the author of the series, Rick Riordan, himself had to address such fans directly in a post on his website.

Leah Jeffries is set to portray Annabeth Chase
Leah Jeffries is set to portray Annabeth Chase

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As it turns out, the criticisms are back again with Leah Jeffries being accused and trolled for race-swapping in the upcoming Disney+ series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Why The Backlash?

Following the casting reveal announcement which took place earlier this year, on May 6th, many believed and stated that Annabeth’s casting was subpar, as it did not adhere to the canonical representation of the character in the books. Annabeth is characterized as having wavy blonde hair, a tan complexion, and grey eyes in the literary series. Her portrayal in the books describes her as being white, which contradicts the latest casting choice for Annabeth, who will be played by Leah Jeffries.

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People are criticizing the upcoming Percy Jackson series
People are criticizing the upcoming series

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Following the reveal, the initial reception gave way to disheartening comments on the internet; some targeting the young actress and consequently, harassing her. Things got to a point where Rick Riordan, the author of the Percy Jackson series, had to clear the tense air and provide reasoning as to why Jeffries was the better casting choice.

Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan

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Following is what the author had to say:

“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 … This trio is the best. Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.”

The author’s lengthy post addressed the nitty-gritty of the casting process and expressed how he was simply abiding by his principles when he chose Jeffries as Annabeth: that only a person’s personality reflects their honest, true nature. His statement, however, was not of much help as the criticism has flared up yet again. But fans of the series came to Jeffries’ rescue.

Percy Jackson Fans Defend Leah Jeffries

The first look at Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The first look at Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Read also: ‘It’s Amazing’: Rick Riordan Praises Disney+ Percy Jackson First Footage

Fans of the series were quick to defend the actress and responded to the criticism online. While most of the backlash was tame, some others resorted to trolling. Speaking up against such remarks, the Percy Jackson fans pointed out the logical reasoning behind their support for Leah Jeffries portraying the role of Annabeth Chase. Following is what they had to state:


There’s a thin line, often at times blurred, between what encompasses criticism, trolling, and harassment. While many have voiced their support for the actress, others have stuck to their initial opinion. As always, the Internet is at a split when it comes to its perspectives. What one can hope for is that with time, the trolling targeted at Jeffries quietens down and people welcome a fresh perspective to the acclaimed series with open arms.

The first season of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is anticipated to premiere on Disney+ in early 2024.

Source: Twitter

Read more: Percy Jackson: 5 Mistakes From The Movie That Disney+ Will Set Right

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Written by Debdipta

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 450 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.