Original Percy Jackson star Alexandra Daddario has voiced her support for Leah Jeffries‘ casting as Annabeth Chase following public statements by author Rick Riordan that called out racially-charged trolling. Daddario, who played Annabeth in the films, backed Jeffries after Riordan caused #LeahIsOurAnnabeth to trend with his strongly worded rebuke.
“Leah Jeffries is going to be an incredible Annabeth!!!” Daddario tweeted.
Leah Jeffries is going to be an incredible Annabeth!!!
— Alexandra Daddario (@AADaddario) May 10, 2022
In a lengthy post on his official website, Riordan pushed back on detractors who criticized Jeffries taking over the role for the Disney+ series. Riordan said the casting decision was his, and as the author of the Percy Jackson books, he knows what’s best for the characters:
If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me. You have no one else to blame. Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong. As strong as Leah is, as much as we have discussed the potential for this kind of reaction and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received online are out of line. They need to stop. Now.
The author didn’t hold back in his remarks and made sure to directly point out what was happening. “You are judging her appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white,” Riordan wrote. “Friends, that is racism.”