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Newly-Cast 'Percy Jackson' TV Series Star Says Racist Trolls Got Her Entire TikTok Account Banned

Newly-Cast 'Percy Jackson' TV Series Star Says Racist Trolls Got Her Entire TikTok Account Banned
@leahsavajeffries/Instagram

The casting of Black actress Leah Sava Jeffries in the upcoming Disney+ adaptation of the Percy Jackson book series caused such a racist uproar that author Rick Riordan penned a pointed response calling out his fans' racism.

Now Jeffries herself is speaking out about the flood of abuse she has withstood in recent days, including a targeted trolling campaign so intense it got her entire TikTok account banned.

Jeffries addressed the incident during an Instagram Live session earlier this week, seen below.

In her Live appearance, Jeffries confirmed it was not her but rather the platform itself that deleted her TikTok account following a targeted harassment campaign in which racist trolls mass-reported her account for fake violations resulting in it being deactivated.

As Jeffries explained:

"I guess all the people who did not want me to be Annabeth or something, they literally took down my whole account."

Jeffries did her best to stay cheerful about the matter, directing her fans to a backup TikTok account in the meantime.

But Jeffries young age—just 12 years old—makes this harassment campaign particularly appalling as many of those harassing her are adult White men who claim because they "grew up" with Riordan's characters, they have a say in casting.

Other sci-fi and fantasy fandoms have experienced similar backlash from the same demographic when main characters or even supporting cast aren't cisgender, heterosexual White males. And while a cisgender White heterosexual female is tolerated, it's only acceptable if she's not the main character.

Via his wife Becky, Riordan addressed the controversy in a Twitter statement, confirming Jeffries family and Disney were working to get her TikTok account back up and running.

Jeffries has been on the receiving end of a torrent of racist abuse since it was announced she was cast in the female lead role of Annabeth, the daughter of the Greek goddess Athena who is described as blond-haired in the books.

Riordan, who has a high level of creative control over the series, handpicked Jeffries for the role, and excoriated the racist elements of his fanbase in a blog post earlier this week.

TikTok has long had a problem with banning Black creators' accounts because of targeted harassment against them. TikTok addressed this problem following a BuzzFeed News report last January, vowing to make sure its policies are "fair and equitable."

It seems in Jeffries' case, those efforts have been insufficient.

And on Twitter, many were appalled by what Jeffries has been subjected to.







Thankfully, the racists targeting Jeffries seem to be in the minority, despite their outsized impact. Response to Jeffries' casting has been mostly positive, including on TikTok.

The platform's #1 post about the upcoming Percy Jackson series is from a school librarian whose Black students can hardly wait to watch Jeffries knock the role of Annabeth out of the park.