Former Percy Jackson star Alexandria Daddario has joined series creator Rick Riordan in congratulating Leah Jeffries on her casting as Annabeth Chase in the Disney+ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Riordan wrote a blog post on May 10 denouncing social media users for “bullying and harassing a child” because 12-year-old Jeffries, who is Black, will play a white character in Riordan’s books. In both live-action Fox films, Daddario played Annabeth, Athena’s demigod daughter, in 2010’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2013’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
“Leah Jeffries is going to be a fantastic Annabeth!” In response to the backlash, Daddario took to Twitter. More than 40,000 people have liked the tweet.
Jeffries said on Instagram Live that she has been banned from TikTok due to the online response to her casting as Annabeth.
“My TikTok account has been suspended. They basically took down my entire account because they didn’t want me to be Annabeth or something “In the video, Jeffries addressed her followers. “I no longer have a TikTok account, but that isn’t going to stop us!”
In an article titled “”This piece is intended for individuals who have a problem with Leah Jeffries’ casting as Annabeth Chase,” Riordan wrote. It’s a shame such posts are necessary, but they are… Leah embodies Annabeth’s strength with her boundless energy and enthusiasm. She will serve as a role model for future generations of girls, who will perceive her as the type of hero they aspire to be.”
Riordan went on, “However, if you have a problem with this casting, please contact me. There is no one else to blame but yourself. Whatever else you take away from this article, we should all agree that online bullying and harassment of children is unethical. As strong as Leah is, and as much as we’ve talked about the possibility of this kind of reaction and the high pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she’s received online are uncalled for. They must cease and desist. Now.”
Riordan also mentioned Disney’s anti-discrimination policy,
which states that the studio is “committed to diverse, inclusive casting,” which is open to “qualified performers, regardless of disability, gender, race and ethnicity, age, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis prohibited by law.”
After that, “I have been clear, as the author, that I was seeking for the finest performers to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and that physical appearance was secondary for me,” Riordan said of the “long, intense, vast, and extensive” casting process. That was accomplished. It took us a year to complete this process and discover the best of the best. This group is
Percy Jackson will be played by Walker Scobell (The Adam Project), and Grover Underwood will be played by Aryan Simhadri (Disney+’s Cheaper by the Dozen). Disney+ has ordered Percy Jackson and the Olympians to the series.