The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power actor Ismael Cruz Córdova doubled down on accusations that he’s been the victim of racism, bullying, and harassment for portraying Arondir in the show.
Córdova spoke with Marc Malkin on the Just for Variety podcast, where he first revealed how he wanted to take on the role of Arondir to change the perception of what an Elf in The Lord of the Rings is.
He told Malkin, “I knew what this role would entail. I knew what it would do in the scope of fantasy. I knew I wanted to be part of something historic especially with the Elves. The Elves have have been historically portrayed as white and Aryan. I wanted to be an elf. I was a mountain boy. I was in love with nature, and I knew it would change things.”
“And this is not the first, first that I’m in. This is not the first. I’ve done a bunch of firsts. First this, first that,” he continued. “And if somebody could withstand the wave of bullying, and harassment, and racism that came afterwards I knew it could be me But for the better. We needed to tilt this. We needed to break it open.”
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Later in the interview, he bragged, “I was not going to take no for something that I believe so strongly in and I wanted to be apart of that change. And I’m very proud to say we really stamped on the ant’s nest. I didn’t just step on it, I was doing some tap dancing on that thing.”
However, he then claimed, “It hurt. It had a psychological and mental health impact. That’s something that I’m very, very open about so that people understand that what they do and say online really hurts people, really has an impact on us.”
“But that price that I was ready to pay, I paid it with all the knowledge and the pride. And at some points when I was already over the hill of that thing, I was sipping my tea, seeing everybody tear their hair out, and I was just sipping my tea, scrolling and chuckling. Scrolling and chuckling,” he added.
Still later in the interview, Córdova admitted taking on the role was political to him, “It’s a privilege to go into a job and not have to pioneer and not to think about this, but I don’t have that privilege in that sense. Everything, I am very conscientious that what I do is always political in the sense of the impact. So I take that. A lot of actors don’t want to take that. I get exhausted by it, but I also feel that I have a calling for it. And that my story and where I come from asks for it.”
“I’ve been in this journey from voicelessness to voicefulness, you know,” he added.
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Córdova would then reveal he’s been working with a therapist for three years to deal with comments criticizing him and his character online. Not only did he reveal he has a personal therapist, but he detailed that Amazon hired a therapist to be present on the set.
He explained, “Amazon had — when we came back from the hiatus and all the conversations we had — an onset therapist as well. That we could go and speak to and she also would be around. It was a beautiful presence. I loved seeing her there even we didn’t speak. I knew there was someone there seeing me completely. It wasn’t just as an actor. It was a feeling, living person over there.”
“Myself and the other cast members that were going through the racist backlash, it wasn’t just going to work,” he said. “By the time we woke up it was exhausting wading through all of this. So I’m very diligent about that. I’m a huge advocate of therapy. I wish it was more accessible, because it is not.”
“You need support for when this happens because the voices are so loud and they’re coming at you from so many places,” he went on. “And even when you don’t interact with social media they make a point of reaching you.”
He then claimed, “My phone got hacked. I had like bank accounts attempts at being hacked. My PayPal got hacked. My friends got messages. I got death threats. I got things mailed to me. People found out my address. It was a lot of that. But we’re still here. That’s the thing. We’re still here. Scrolling and chuckling, drinking my San Pellegrino.”
Despite making these claims Córdova did not provide any evidence to their authenticity.
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This isn’t the first time he made such claims either. Earlier this month he attended a FYC event in Hollywood to promote the Prime Video series and claimed he was the victim of racism and received death threats.
As reported by Deadline, he said at the event, “I had a lifetime of preparation for this role and I’ve been fighting for an opportunity like this one for so long. I’ve been wanting to play an Elf for around 20 years, a dream that came with a lot of naysayers along the way.”
He then asserted, “By the time we started shooting, I had already faced a year of backlash: a lot of negativity, death threats, racism, all of that. I knew going in that I would have to be bulletproof to prove to all these people that I belong there.”
Fast forward to Season 2, the love and support were concrete—I still get emotional thinking about it. The impact that it had was no longer in a vacuum,” he claimed. “I had thousands of hands holding me and pushing me.”
“I knew in the abstract what I was doing before but now I know the faces of those I did and still do it for. Now I feel even more galvanized and like I finally have a break from having to constantly prove that I belong. I’ve always known that I belong and now I feel like I can soar,” he relayed.
RELATED: ‘The Rings of Power’ Star Ismael Córdova Claims He Has Faced Constant Stream Of “Pure And Vicious Hate Speech” Ever Since His Casting Was Announced
Back in September, he told Esquire, that he received “pure and vicious hate speech.” He went on to state, “I fought so hard for this role for this very reason. I felt that I could carry that torch. I made sure that my elf was the most Elven, the most incredible, because I knew this was coming.”
“I knew that I would have the eyes of the world on me,” he relayed. “I needed to be undeniable, and to be the most Elven elf that I could be. And I needed my soul to shine through, too.”
What do you make of Córdova’s most recent claims of racism without providing any evidence?
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