Hobbit Racism Row

This story broke back in November, but I think it’s worth mentioning on the heels of last weeks article about the casting call for The Hobbit. Reading people’s reactions I realized that either I’m crazy, or they’re crazy. But let’s back track, for those who don’t know, a casting director put an ad in the paper looking for fair-skinned, stout people to be extras in the Hobbit. A British woman of Pakastani origin, after waiting for three hours, was turned away by the “rogue” director for being too dark. The director was canned and Jackson offered an apology, saying no such instructions were given. Problem solved. But as I mentioned, reading the response on the web I noticed a lot of fantasy fans have got their breeches in a bind over a lack of diversity on the set, some even decrying Hollywood as a bastion of racism. Please. As one user put it, let’s not make a mountain out of a hobbit hole. First off, I don’t think this casting agent should have been fired, alright her methods might lack tact, and it certainly doesn’t read well in the press, but if she’d shown up on set with a group of extras covering all the colours of the rainbow she would have been sacked as well, less publicy. Let’s see what Jackson’s Shire looks like this time ’round. But besides, what’s the problem with defining skin colour in a casting call if people can be chosen based on height, weight, gender and other characteristics. If it were otherwise anyone could apply for any role and claim discrimination when not given the part. I wonder if the same hands around the world group would carry the torch when Reese Witherspoon get’s turned down for the role of Shaft.

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