Ever since Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power began casting some of its key characters the murmurs form certain corners of the internet have begun to ring out. In the time since then racist attacks against the cast, creators, and even viewers, of the recent streaming hit have grown in size, with many claiming that it's against J.R.R. Tolkien's vision of Middle-earth to include actors of color as characters in his story. Amazon Prime Video previously sought to combat review bombing of the show by completely removing the option to leave a user review when the series premiered and now they've released a scathing statement in opposition to those being disrespectful.
"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 subject to one a daily basis," it reads. "We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it. JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. 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, fantasy has never been all white. Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in middle-earth and the are here to stay."
It continues, "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. 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. You are an integral part of the LORT family -thanks for having our backs." The statement concludes with the elvish word "Namárië," meaning "Farewell."
In the minutes after The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered, Prime Video suspended User Reviews for the series, a practice they revealed had rolled out over the summer and which would be turned back on after 72 hours. As of this writing they are still not available to be made by subscribers, be they positive or negative. Today's statement from The Rings of Power cast comes after the stars of the original The Lord of the Rings released their own statement, and a charity t-shirt for fans which included a message in Elvish reading: "You Are All Welcome Here."
How to Watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The new series can only be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, be it directly through an internet browser or on a Prime Video app on a Smart TV or other device. The series is only available to watch for Amazon Prime subscribers, available on a monthly or annual subscription, but you can sign up for it here.