Netflix Cleopatra actor Adele James responds to ‘fundamentally racist’ casting outrage
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Netflix
The star of Netflix's Queen Cleopatra series has broken her silence on the controversy surrounding the show and its casting choices.
With Casualty star Adele James taking on the lead role, Queen Cleopatra arrived on Netflix last month and follows the Egyptian queen as she attempts to defend her throne, family and legacy.
The series has proved popular on the streaming service and remains in the Top 10 TV shows in the UK at the time of writing (11 May), but it's also been the source of a lot of backlash.
A lot of people have taken issue with the decision to cast James, who is Black, as the Egyptian queen, and after putting up with the criticism for weeks James decided to speak out during an appearance on the show Steph’s Packed Lunch.
During her appearance on the program James admitted it would be 'naïve' of her to say that she 'didn't expect anything' to come from her involvement in the show, but she added: "I didn’t expect the scale of it."
The actor went on to say that people have been focusing too much on her skin colour and failing to grasp what the show is really about.
“I think it’s distressing for anybody to receive any level of abuse, let alone the scale and the nature of what I’ve received, which is fundamentally racist, all of it," James said.
“People are talking about the wrong things. Yes, we don’t know where her mother was from or her paternal grandmother, but also the show is about so much more than the question mark over her race.
“If you watch it is a very small part of the conversation really, this is about the fullness of who this woman was and she was a human being and she shouldn’t be reduced to her race any more than I should or anybody should.”
James' comments were supported by her co-star John Partridge, who appears in the Netflix series as Julius Caesar.
He argued that no one seemed to be honing in on issues with his background, saying: "The controversy is about Cleopatra being Black, I don’t hear anybody saying that Julius Caesar is a homosexual from Manchester."
Partridge added: "We’re just actors at the end of the day, and sometimes our morality gets called into play, we’re jobbing actors.”