Amazon has defended its hugely popular latest series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power from the negativity on the internet - specifically relating to its diverse cast. The negativity on Twitter emerged following the premiere for its first episode on 1 September 2022. Some netizens commented on Amazon featuring a "Black elf" and having "Black people in middle earth." Others mocked the brand calling it "lord of diversity" and "lord of political correctness."
On the official Twitter account of Lord of the Rings, Prime put out an official statement saying: “We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity and against the relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse some of our castmates of colour are being subjected to on a daily basis. We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it."
It added that, "JRR Tolkien (the writer) created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. Rings of Power reflects that. Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white, Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in Middle-earth and they are here to stay."
In a statement to L.A. Times, the head of Amazon Studios, Jen Salke reiterated that the team is
"really proud of the cast" and welcomes "discussion and even criticism around the series," however, it will not condone racism of any kind.
Regardless of the criticism, the popular series has been watched by more than 25 million viewers in the first 24 hours, according to media reports. LOTR's world has entrapped the world's attention for the last two decades now ever since the release of its first movie, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, in 2001.
Aside from that, Prime Video has launched a campaign to bring Middle-earth to fans’ doorsteps globally.
Prime Video will debut its biggest campaign from 9 September to 15 October with Amazon custom-wrapped boxes (with easter eggs for fans to discover) and delivery vans, and The Lord of the Rings-named lockers, reaching over 150 million packages worldwide and 2,000 vehicles across the U.S.
Prime Video has designed five themed Amazon boxes around each of the realms: Dwarves, Elves, Harfoots, Numenorians, and Humans. Each box features a hidden easter egg to surprise for fans in over seven territories, such as the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and India. Prime Video will also push out custom SmartPacs to fans within the US.
Additionally, “The Rings of Power” themed tape will line Amazon packages delivered in the US, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and the European Union. Prime Video will be implementing the five themed Amazon boxes for Tolkien fans in over seven Asian territories including India, as well as “The Rings of Power” themed tape in Japan and Singapore.
New locker locations with names from the series
As part of the campaign, Prime Video will also be wrapping Amazon Lockers featuring key characters in over 100 locations in the US and UK. These lockers feature key characters such as Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete).
Within the US, Prime Video will be naming over 35 new Amazon Locker locations after characters and places from “The Rings of Power.” As Tolkien Evangelists select delivery to these lockers for their Amazon orders, they will see familiar names from the series and be able to pick up their packages from “Gil-Galad.”
To bring “The Rings of Power” on the road, Prime Video will custom wrap over 2,000 Amazon delivery vehicles across the U.S., making it the largest van takeover to date. These vans and drivers will deliver packages to customers in more than 25 markets.
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