For many whose eager embrace of the book “Hunger Games” lead them to the theater when the movie was released, there is surprise and disappointment over the casting of three Black actors in the new film.
According to Jezebel, a celebrity gossip blog, several angry fans took to Twitter to voice their racist frustrations over the casting of Amandla Stenberg, Dayo Okeniyi and Lenny Kravitz as Rue, Thresh and Cinna, respectively. The tweets were tracked by a “Hunger Games” Tumblr page. Many of the comments first appeared last summer, when the cast was announced.
“Why did the producer make all the good characters Black? Smh,” one fan wrote.
Another fan tweeted, “Call me racist but when I found out Rue was Black her death wasn’t as sad #ihatemyself.”
Other fans took their frustrations a step further and called Stenberg a “Black b*tch” and the n-word.
After the racist comments made headlines, many of the angry tweeters either deleted their pages or made them private.
The reactions were a surprise to some, mainly because author Suzanne Collins described the characters Rue and Thresh in the book series as having dark brown skin.
“Here’s what scares me…All these…people…read the ‘Hunger Games,'” the moderator of the Tumblr page wrote. “Clearly, they all fell in love with and cared about Rue. Though what they really fell in love with was an image of Rue that they’d created in their minds.”
He continued, “Then the casting is revealed (or they go see the move) and they’re shocked to see that Rue is Black. These people are MAD that the girl they cried over while reading the book was ‘some Black girl’ all along. So now they’re angry. This is a BIG problem.”
Stenberg, 13, released a statement in response to the uproar, according to E! News.
“It was an amazing experience; I am proud of the film and my performance. I want to thank all of my fans and the entire Hunger Games community for their support and loyalty.”
Isabelle Fuhrman, who plays Clove in the movie told E!, “I think Amandla was fantastic in it, and she’s so beautiful. She’s exactly how I imagined her to be.”
The film, based on the “Hunger Games” book series, opened in theaters March 23. After making $155 million at the box office its opening weekend, it became the third-best debut in North American box office history.