podcast·2 min read

‘Percy Jackson’ and ‘Doctor Who’ Fans Are Mad — But Why?

May 17, 2022

It’s a huge week for music and TV. We have questions — and answers. 

  • First up: Kendrick Lamar’s new album dropped, but does it live up to the hype?

  • Next: Who won Eurovision, and who tried to cheat by hacking the results?

  • Then: What happened at the Billboard Music Awards, and why are people talking about Cara Delevingne, Doja Cat, and Travis Scott?

But the question of the week: Why are folks so mad at the latest casting news? 

Since Disney+ announced it was adapting the popular YA series “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” into a show, fans have been eager to see who would play the main characters. 

In April, fans learned Walter Scobell landed the role of demigod Percy Jackson, and they celebrated. But last week, it was announced that Leah Jeffries would play the role 

Annabeth Chase, and some fans weren’t exactly thrilled — despite author Rick Riordan choosing Jeffries to play a character he created. 

Jeffries is Black and in the book it’s implied that Annabeth is white. And angry fans made their feelings known by getting the 12-year-old star’s TikTok banned.  

Unfortunately, Jeffries isn’t the only actor getting mixed fan reactions. BBC announced that “Sex Education” star Ncuti Gatwa will take on the title of the Doctor in the next season of “Doctor Who.” Many fans and even showrunner Russell T. Davies say they can’t wait to see what Gatwa does with the role, but others are criticizing the series for what they say is a “woke” casting decision. 

Why are diverse casting decisions so controversial, especially with fictional shows? We talked with someone who studies and writes about fandom about the backlash. 

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