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Tom Holland Staging of Romeo & Juliet Slammed with ‘Deplorable Racial Abuse’

Tom Holland Staging of Romeo & Juliet Slammed with 'Deplorable Racial Abuse'


  • In a statement posted on Friday, April 5, The Jamie Lloyd Company addressed the “deplorable racial abuse” directed toward actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers.
  • The company insists on creating work without facing online harassment and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the industry.
  • At the time of this writing,
    Romeo & Juliet
    star Tom Holland has not responded to the company’s “racial abuse” post.

“This must stop.” Those are the words written in a statement posted Friday, April 5 by @RomeoJulietLDN from The Jamie Lloyd Company, which addresses “a barrage of deplorable racial abuse online directed towards a member of our company.” Although she went unnamed in the statement, the “racial abuse” is directed toward actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, who portrays Juliet in the upcoming sold-out run of Romeo & Juliet. The 12-week production is set to appear at London’s The Duke of York’s Theatre, and it features Spider-Man and MCU star Tom Holland in the lead role of Romeo. The statement posted to X, formerly Twitter (@RomeoJulietLDN), reads as follows:

“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. This must stop. We are working with a remarkable group of artists. We insist that they are free to create work without facing online harassment. We will continue to support and protect everyone in our company at all costs.”

The Jamie Lloyd Company

The statement continues:

“Any abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported. 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. We celebrate the extraordinary talent of our incredible collaborators. The ‘Romeo & Juliet’ community will continue to rehearse with generosity and love, and focus on the creation of our production. — The Jamie Lloyd Company.”

Backlash Over the Casting of Juliet

Tom Holland’s casting announcement in Romeo & Juliet caught many Marvel fans off guard and even disappointed those hoping his next big project would be Spider-Man 4. But it was the revelation on March 28 that Francesca Amewudah-Rivers would be portraying Holland’s on-stage love interest, Juliet, that sparked the “deplorable racial abuse” online. Warning, some of what follows is wildly inappropriate, and unless otherwise notated, the following comments were posted in response to Holland’s Romeo & Juliet post on his official Instagram account @tomholland2013. @aros.o99 commented on Amewudah-Rivers playing Juliet:


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@aros.o99 comment came yesterday in a response to another Instagram user, joy_queen2.0, who called out Holland for not addressing the racism directed toward the casting of his “co-star Francesca.” The stars of The Jamie Lloyd Company’s production of Romeo & Juliet features a mixture of races in integral roles with Freema Agyeman portraying the Nurse, Ray Sesay playing Tybalt, Daniel Quinn-Toye making his professional debut — he steps into Paris’ shoes — and Joshua-Alexander Williams as Mercutio.

But it’s Amewudah-Rivers who is being called out online for winning the role of Juliet. A week ago, another Instagrammer, @altair.dct, wrote in the comments of Holland’s original post:

Three days ago, @mrsklhayes commented:

Why does she look like a dude[?]

Another Instagrammer, @lgmolloy12, implored for Holland to say something in response to the comments directed toward his co-star:

You need to speak up for your costar. The fact that you didn’t post when most other company members have speaks volumes.

At the time of this writing, Holland hasn’t commented on the “racial abuse” directed toward Francesca Amewudah-Rivers. The Jamie Lloyd Company’s production of Romeo & Juliet runs from Thursday, May 23 through Saturday, August 3. However, the 12-week run is already sold out.

For more information, please visit
the production’s official website
now. And check out the statement released by The Jamie Lloyd Company concerning the “racial abuse” in its entirety below:

Romeo and Juliet statement
The Jamie Lloyd Company

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