Alexandra Daddario & 'Percy Jackson' Author Support Leah Sava Jeffries amid Backlash Over Casting

Leah Sava Jeffries said in an Instagram video that her TikTok account had been banned due to people being upset, telling fans, "They literally took down my whole account"

Leah Jeffries; Alexandra Daddario; Rick Riordan
Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images; Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Rahav Segev via ZUMA Wire

Alexandra Daddario and author Rick Riordan are supporting Leah Sava Jeffries amid backlash over her casting in Disney+'s new Percy Jackson show.

Last week, Disney+ announced Jeffries, 12, had been cast as Annabeth Chase, one of Percy Jackson's close friends, for the upcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The character is described in the books as white.

Jeffries, who is Black, has since faced blowback on social media for being cast as Chase. The young actress later said in an Instagram video that her TikTok account had been banned due to people being upset, telling fans, "They literally took down my whole account."

But the actress has since received support from Riordan — Chase's creator — and Daddario, who formerly played the fictional character.

Daddario, 36, sent love for her successor Wednesday on Twitter, writing, "Leah Jeffries is going to be an incredible Annabeth!!!"

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario

Riordian condemned critics of the casting decision in a blog post shared on Tuesday demanding the negative comments stop immediately.

"If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me. You have no one else to blame," the author wrote, adding, "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."

Leah Jeffries on the film set of 'Something from Tiffany's' in New York City
Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/Shutterstock

Riordian's wife Rebecca Riordan — who serves as an executive producer for the new Disney+ program, per The Hollywood Reporter — also criticized the anger directed toward Jeffries, writing on Twitter, "Leave Leah alone."

"Demagoguery is a good word to know," Rebecca said in a quote tweet of her own message from May 6 reminding fans that there is "no room" for such treatment online.

"Do we need to have a talk about the intersectionality of misogyny and racism? Misogyny is equally a problem here. We condemn both," she wrote on Tuesday. "Getting yelled at? Annabeth doesn't belong to you. She never did."

During her recent Instagram Live, Jeffries thanked her supporters for showing her love while she copes with the racist backlash. She also vowed to not let her critics bring her down.

"To whoever is hating, stop doing that! Like, I know you think that's going to hurt me though. It's not. You're just wasting time," she said in a clip of the Live shared by a user on Instagram.

"I'm still confident in myself," Jeffries continued. "Everybody else is confident. Everybody else is happy for me. So don't try to bring me down. It's not going to work."

In his Tuesday blog post, Riordian reminded Percy Jackson fans of his promise to follow Disney's company policy on nondiscrimination during the casting process.

Author Rick Riordan attends Symphony Space for the launch of his new book ; Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer
Rahav Segev via ZUMA Wire

"I have been clear, as the author, that I was looking for the best actors to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and that physical appearance was secondary for me. We did that," he wrote. "We took a year to do this process thoroughly and find the best of the best. This trio is the best. Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase."

He later concluded, "Watch the show or don't. That's your call. But this will be an adaptation that I am proud of, and which fully honors the spirit of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, taking the bedtime story I told my son twenty years ago to make him feel better about being neurodivergent, and improving on it so that kids all over the world can continue to see themselves as heroes at Camp Half-Blood."

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