Racial Discrimination Allegation Hits Hobbit Movie Casting Call

The Age is this morning is reporting on a race row that has broken out in New Zealand over a casting call for hobbits, of all things.

British woman, Naz Humhpreys, a social policy researcher on a working holiday in NZ and who is of Pakistani descent, attended a Hobbit casting call for the forthcoming middle earth films, only to be told her skin tone wasn’t suitable – apparently Hobbits are fair skinned, who knew?

“It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin,” Humphreys told the newspaper.

“The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned.”

The newspaper (Ed. Dominion Post) said video footage showed the casting manager telling people at the audition: “We are looking for light-skinned people. I’m not trying to be — whatever. It’s just the brief. You’ve got to look like a hobbit.”…

…”I would love to be an extra,” she said. “But it just seemed like a shame because obviously hobbits are not brown or black or any other colour.

“They all look kind of homogenised beige and all derived from the Caucasian gene pool.” read more at The Age

Naz is said to have started a Facebook group called “Hire hobbits of all colours! Say no to hobbit racism!”

An example of institutionalised racism in New Zealand, or just a misconception on the part of one casting manager? To be sure you’d have to work your way back through hours of Lord of the Rings films and look for any Hobbits that have dark skins, if there aren’t any that suggests it may be the former.

Read an update to this story:-  Booted Out Of Bag End

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9 thoughts on “Racial Discrimination Allegation Hits Hobbit Movie Casting Call

  1. Not important to site my source, I didn’t pass it off as my own comment or thoughts, although it sums it up bang on.

    Are you at any stage going to state why this is as you suggest “institutionalised racism in New Zealand” when all the facts so far point towards it being a case of a silly woman getting strippy because she doesn’t understand how casting works.

  2. I’m of mixed descent and not “pale-skinned”. I’ve read the books multiple times and NEVER read a description that posits that hobbits were anything other than Caucasian looking. This is a NON-issue. Why is it getting press?

    • One website said this about this non story:

      The problem here is the same one that’s plagued the production of The Hobbit all along. In a word: Greed. No one cared what Peter Jackson was doing when he made Lord of the Rings because no one knew if it would be a success. In fact the whole thing was a big gamble, so people got out of his way and let him roll the dice. Now the world smells money and everyone, from the biggest studio lawyer to the smallest New Zealand extra wants a piece of the pie. I suspect this woman, and most of the incredibly stupid people championing her cause, are no different

  3. Hobbits are meant to be an inbred non-diverse race that barely venture outside Hobbiton and aren’t meant to be the United Colors of Benetton.

    Classic case of attempting to manipulate using affirmative action….playing the ‘race’ card. Pathetic. Was there an outcry on using Japanese extras in Last Samurai…no. Would I audition as a Japanese peasant…no…would I be offended if they said no…no.

  4. She should **** out of our country and never be allowed to come back.She is breaking our visa laws by even trying to apply for work outside of her visa conditions. Nothing but another **** stirring politically correct ****. Just add an i to her last name and you’ll get an idea of what sort of person she is.She has made another hard working nzer lose his job all because of the race card again.We dont need **** heads like that here we already have our own race problems.

    E2NZ – edited to remove expletives

  5. yo tambien quiero ser contratado para ser extra en la pelicula
    Di NO A los Actores BLANCOS
    Si ellos son racistas nosotrso los de otro color no veremos sus películas

  6. Check out the scan of the casting call newspaper ad. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with casting only pale skinned people. It is what it is. It’s the story. But for Jackson’s reps to say they didn’t know about the conditions, is not believable. It says it right there in the scan of one of their newspaper ads. Stand by your choices Jackson & Co..

  7. Er no, it is not racist whatsoever. To even do is is pulling a rather long bow. Read the Hobbit, understand the movie and the plot and you will see why she was not able to be a Hobbit. Sure the casting manager should have put it better but this woman is once again stupidly put this film under the international spotlight for the wrong reasons. Greed is a ugly thing.

    • The story is set in a fantasy world of the United Kingdom. This is as racist as me not choosing to have marmite on my toast this morning.

      Agreed about the visa issue too, this has nothing to do with her working holiday. She is only guilty of being a silly girl who has stirred up something out of nothing.

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