More news from the troubled The Hobbit shoot in New Zealand.
Naz Humphreys, a British woman of Pakistani origin, and her husband are on a working holiday in New Zealand. From what I can glean, the timing is deliberate because she heads directly to Hamilton where extras are being cast for The Hobbit. She professes to be a Tolkien fan (who isn’t?). Unfortunately Naz is turned down for a part because she is not pale enough. This is what she told the Waikato Times.
It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin. The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned.
So Naz started up a FaceBook group called Hire Hobbits of all colours! Say no to Hobbit racism!
On hearing about the problem Hobbit director, Peter Jackson, reacted and sacked the independent contractor who, it is claimed, overstepped his brief.
Okay, being rejected on the grounds of your skin colour is rather shitty and the bloke responsible lost his job over it. But it isn’t just skin colour discrimination, it’s height discrimination too. The height restriction for casting female hobbits is five feet two inches which discriminates against my five feet six inches but you don’t see me or anyone else run howling to the press to play the heightist card do you? Do I hear you being indignant on my behalf, Naz? Thought not. And since Hobbits can achieve the ripe old age of eleventy one or more then we also have ageism to contend with too.
So what else does Naz have to say?
In 2010, a movie company should be representing all its viewers. It’s not just going to be white people seeing The Hobbit, but people from all over the world.
Well yes. It’s a timeless story of good triumphing over evil. That sort of thing tends to be popular. And do you know what? I won’t be worrying about what colour skin the extras have because I won’t be shelling out money to go see them. They are peripherals. Animated scenery. I’ll be paying to go see my favourite childhood book adapted for the big screen and therefore will be concentrating one the main characters and the plot. Just because the movie will have a worldwide release and you travel thousands of miles in the hope of being an extra because you are a big fan doesn’t entitle you to a job whatever colour your skin, Naz. Or me for that matter. Besides, you already have a job, dear. Aren’t you being a little selfish depriving the locals of employment?