Tom Holland Slammed for Silence as Costar Endures Racial Abuse

Tom Holland is getting slammed. It’s not for something he did or said, but for not speaking up.

The world loves Tom Holland. And he has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s a good, lovable person.

At the moment, however, critics say that his silence is deafening.

One of his own castmates is the target of vicious racist hate. Will he speak up to defend her? Or would this do more harm than good?

Tom Holland in January of 2024.
Tom Holland attends the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 14, 2024. (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Racists are targeting The Jamie Lloyd Company’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ cast

In early April, The Jamie Lloyd Company put out a statement on their Instagram page to condemn a hate campaign against a Romeo & Juliet cast member.

“Following the announcement of our Romeo & Juliet cast, there has been a barrage of deplorable racial abuse online directed towards a member of our company,” the statement grimly acknowledged. “This must stop.”

The theatrical company continued: “We are working with a remarkable group of artists. We insist that they are free to create work without facing online harassment.”

A screenshot of white text on a black background from The Jamie Lloyd Company's Instagram page.
The Jamie Lloyd Company put out a statement on Instagram in April of 2024. Citing the racial abuse of a member of the theatrical company’s Romeo & Juliet cast, they condemned this harassment. (Image Credit: The Jamie Lloyd Company/Instagram)

Then, The Jamie Lloyd Company vowed: “We will continue to support and protect everyone in our company at all costs. Any abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported.”

The statement emphasized: “Bullying and harassment have no place online, in our industry or in our wider communities. Our rehearsal room is full of joy, compassion, and kindness.” Good to hear!

“We celebrate the extraordinary talent of our incredible collaborators,” the company affirmed. “The Romeo & Juliet community will continue to rehearse with generosity and love, and focus on the creation of our production.”

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers is receiving hateful, racist abuse online

Though the company itself did not identify the victim, unfortunately, it is not mystery.

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers is portraying Juliet in the play. She is a talented Shakespearean actor.

And when Amewudah-Rivers shares posts, hateful and frankly evil comments crop up.

As always with these kinds of hate campaigns, the goal is to drive people of color (and other targets) out of projects.

And to make companies too afraid to cast them for fear of similar backlash.

Already, even some people claiming to “support” Amewudah-Rivers have taken to social media to claim that casting bears “some responsibility.” As if it were the wrong thing to do, and one should simply let the terrorists win, so to speak.

Perhaps one voice could have more of an impact than others

Arséma Thomas, who is most recognizable for her role as Lady Agatha Danbury in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is speaking out on her Instagram page.

She is urging Tom Holland, who plays Romeo in the theatrical production, to speak up in defense of Amewudah-Rivers.

After HBO actor Selina Jones spoke up, Thomas echoed her words, reposting her message to her Instagram Story.

Arsema Thomas in March of 2024.
Arsema Thomas attends the NAACP Image Awards Dinner at Hollywood Palladium on March 14, 2024. (Photo Credit: Leon Bennett/Getty Images For NAACP)

Selina Jones wrote: “You lot need to put pressure pon @tomholland2023’s head top. I need my guy to say something, ANYTHING, about the disgusting racial abuse being thrown at our angel Fran.”

Then, Thomas reposted the message and added her own words, writing: “So bloody true @selinasjones.”

Tom Holland is a high-profile actor. Though best known for playing Spider-Man in the MCU and for being Zendaya’s hot, lovable boyfriend, he arguably has a decent amount of power as an actor. Could a few words from him make a difference?

Tom Holland on June 1, 2023.
Tom Holland arrives for the premiere of Apple TV+’s “The Crowded Room” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on June 1, 2023. (Photo Credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Tom Holland speaking out might do more harm than good

On social media, some are praising and echoing Thomas’ call to action. In some posts, Tom Holland continues to get slammed for his silence. Others are attempting to slam the brakes — or, at least, are advising caution.

Unfortunately, through the anonymity of the internet, racists seldom respond well to scolding.

Some have even expressed concern that it could make matters worse. Holland’s high profile acting career could contribute to a sort of Streisand Effect — making more racists aware of Amewudah-Rivers and thus painting a larger target on her.

Amewudah-Rivers’ public statements have been positive. As we noted, she is a Shakespearean actor, and this is her West End debut as Juliet.

Perhaps she is ignoring the bigotry and vitriol. But no matter how well she might be coping with the onslaught of hate, she shouldn’t have to. That’s not on casting agents (or on Tom Holland), but on the monsters who are attacking her.

This Romeo & Juliet production will run from May 11 until August 3 at London’s Duke of York Theatre. To say that we hope that the racist attacks die down would be an understatement.

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