In their latest ploy to run defense for their widely-rejected adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal fantasy work, Amazon has enlisted the four actors who portrayed the Hobbit members of the Fellowship of the Ring in Peter Jackson’s cinematic take on the classic story – Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd – to denounce as racist any The Lord of the Rings fans who have criticized The Rings of Powers’ wild deviations from its source material.
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The original four ‘Hobbitses’ added their voices to this chorus of disingenuous rhetoric, as previously put forth by members of the Prime Video exclusive series’ own cast and crew including star Lenny Henry and executive producer Lindsey Weber, on September 7th.
That morning, Wood shared an image of himself, Monaghan, and Boyd standing side-by-side and clad in matching t-shirts alongside the caption “You Are All Welcome Here”.
The t-shirts, as created by LOTR fan @DonMarshall72 and linked to for purchase by the actor, feature a graphic depicting a line-up of various Middle Earth races’ ears in various skin tones underneath a line of Elfish script which translates to the same phrase tweeted by Wood.
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Though noticeably absent from the group shot of his short-statured brethren, an absolutely enthusiastic Sean Astin would make his own post in support of this new campaign just a few minutes later, following up Wood’s tweet with his own @DonMarshall72 merchandise-clad selfie and similar declaration that “You are all welcome here.”
This trotting out of the Jackson trilogy’s cast was just the first salvo in Amazon’s latest phase of their tired “no matter their complaints, our critics are nothing but racist” marketing ploy.
Later that day, the official The Rings of Power Twitter account would follow-up this publicity stunt with a lengthy statement reiterating this tired defense, accusing for the umpteenth time, “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. We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it.”
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“JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural,” the statement continued. “A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. Rings of Power reflects that. Our world has never been all white, Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in Middle-earth and they are here to stay.”
“Finally, all our love and fellowship go out to the fans supporting us, especially fans of colour who are themselves being attacked simply for existing in this fandom,” added the series’ production team. “We see you, your bravery, and endless creativity. Your cosplays, fancams, fan art, and insights make this community a richer place and remind us of our purpose.”
“You are valid, you are loved, and you belong,” they concluded. “You are an integral part of the LOTR family — thanks for having our backs. Namárië.”
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It should be noted that as of writing, no one associated with The Rings of Power has shared any evidence of the supposed racist harassment received by the cast.
(Credit where credit is due, at least when Star Wars fell back on this industry standard defensive tactic to market Obi-Wan Kenobi, the recipient of these respective racist fan attacks, Moses Ingram, shared some proof of the messages she believed to be offensive.)
Hilariously and transparently, The Rings of Power team would be lauded and supported in their efforts by that very same brand.
In reply to their statement, the official Star Wars Twitter account affirmed, “From Middle-earth to a galaxy far, far away… #YouAreAllWelcomeHere”.
Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now streaming on Prime Video.
Further, as promoted by both Wood and Astin, interested fans can purchase their own “You Are All Welcome Here” at @DonMarhsall72’s webstore.
NEXT: Lenny Henry Unapologetic About Altering J.R.R. Tolkien’s Works In ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power’: “We’re Telling The Story Now”