Monday evening, news broke that some fans of the post-apocalyptic young adult series The Hunger Games were intent on drawing blood of their own, tweeting out racist and increasingly virulent Twitter posts attacking Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), Amandla Stenberg (Rue) and Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh) for playing characters that they had imagined as white, not black.
As media attention to the tweets causes more and more of the original posters to delete their accounts, other Hunger Games fans are fighting back, posting counter-tweets both to defend the actors and to mock the prejudice seen in the original posts.
'Not gonna lie, kinda ruined the movie.'
Hunger Games Tweets, a Tumblr page put together by a fan who had noticed ignorant tweets popping up just before the premiere, aimed at exposing those Hunger Games readers who dare to call themselves fans yet don't know a d--n thing about the books.
Soon, however, the account became dedicated almost solely to exposing some of the most shockingly racist tweets about a movie's casting choices in years, with viewers claiming that casting black actors in some of the bigger roles had ruined the film and made their horrific deaths less tragic.
cinna and rue werent suppose to be black, one comparatively mild Twitter user posted, before adding, in reference to Thresh: why did the producer make all the good characters black smh.
By far the most offensive and most venomous tweets, however, were reserved for Stenberg, the adorable 13-year-old actress who plays Katniss' surrogate sister Rue in the titular Games.
why does rue have to be black, one Twitter user posted in what has become one of a flood of racist postings by users across Twitter. not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie.
Ewwww rue is black?? I'm not watching, another wrote, while others tweeted about being pissed that a black b---ch, monkey and n----r was cast.
Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you picture, another wrote.
call me racist, one more Hunger Games fan tweeted. but when i found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad.
'The reactions are based on feelings of disgust.'
Hunger Games Tweets was first to decry the horrendous tweets, and to identify one obvious problem before racism even entered the equation: the fact that Rue and Thresh, at least, are supposed to be black.
Most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11, Suzanne Collins, the author of the books, wrote. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that's she's very like [Katniss' sister] Prim in size and demeanor.
Thresh, meanwhile, is described as having the same dark skin as Rue, while Cinna isn't described in terms of race or ethnicity at all.
The reactions are all based on feelings of disgust, Hunger Games Tweets blogger Peter Vandini wrote.
These people are MAD that the girl that they cried over while reading the book was 'some black girl' all along. So now they're angry. Wasted tears, wasted emotions. It's sad to think that had they known that she was black all along, there would have been [no] sorrow or sadness over her death. . . This is a BIG problem.
Channing Kennedy, community manager of Colorlines.com, added to Vandini's commentary in a statement.
What separates 'The Hunger Games' from the usual apocalyptic-teen-gladiator fare is its smart take on class and inequality, and its honest depiction of race as an integral party of that story, he wrote.
The fact that readers are upset that the black characters are black is troubling, to say the least; the entitlement they're expressing is an indicator of how ingrained Hollywood homogeneity has become.
Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the Hunger Games series, is herself described as having black hair and olive skin. The fact that she is played by the pale and (originally) blonde Jennifer Lawrence appears to have raised no eyebrows or prompted any keystrokes on Twitter so far.
'Hunger Games' Fans Fight Back
Luckily for both attentive Hunger Games readers and those horrified by the racist tweets prompted by Rue's casting, other fans of the books have launched counterattacks on Twitter in a rather Katniss-like offensive of battling ignorance and prejudice through humor and the uncanny ability to identify other's weaknesses.
why does Herman Cain have to be black, one trolling Twitter user who took up the original poster's handle after the former was deleted. not gonna lie kinda ruined pizza.
As more and more of the original posters delete their Twitter accounts, take a look at some of the best comebacks other users have tweeted, both to shame and to entertain.
Just in time, too. Inspired in part by the original tweets made about Rue, a new trend is appearing on Twitter: Rue's famous request that Katniss sing to her before she dies, followed by Katniss breaking out into a rendition of T-Pain's Apple Bottom Jeans or Willow Smith's I Whip My Hair.
Best Twitter Comebacks to Racist Tweets (So Far):
@Joshacagan: I hear Donald Trump is trying to prove Rue wasn't even BORN in Panem.
@Patronhippie: Those people [who posted] were confused because Rue and Thresh didn't wear a hoodie in the book
@WhatTheEverdeen: Just this time 12...for Rue.
@seanoconnz: I'm not mad that Rue was black in the Hunger Games, but I am kinda mad she wasn't a kangaroo.
@JamesUrbaniak: This is how I always pictured Rue [link to Rue McClanahan of Golden Girls]
@millskj: Actually I'm upset that Rue wasn't blacker, ruined the entire movie
@jsschley: My head is exploding. Is this 1950 or 2012?
@Porsche12212: @amandastenberg and @DayoOkeniyi Don't listen to what anyone is saying about you two. You were the perfect choices for Rue and Thresh :)
@theonetruebix: Ah, Twitter. Always a window into the soul.
@MattBinder: The most shocking part about the racist comments regarding Rue from Hunger Games being black is that these people claim to be able to read.
@markrahner: The people pissed that Hunger Games characters weren't white are really going to s--t when thety find out about Jesus.