Considering that Starfire from Titans is an alien with orange skin, it may be surprising to hear that fans reacted horribly when they heard Anna Diop was going to play the part. The negative outpouring of criticism has only increased over time, with Anna eventually choosing to disable her Instagram comments. Not only that, it appears that she has deleted all but six posts on her Instagram.
Moreover, The Root pointed out the incredible irony of the racism, considering that Starfire is a black character. Starfire’s been portrayed as a black woman even in the Teen Titans comics in the 1980s. The issue, they speculate, is that “she’s not the right kind of black woman,” and that she is “too dark” for the role.
The issue then is not just racism, but colorism. The Root continues to explain that the black women who are socially accepted in various roles tend to be “racially ambiguous.”
As far as the criticism goes, it reached new heights in April when a photo of Diop partially in her Starfire costume was leaked. Many of the comments centered around whether she was a good representation of Starfire, while other comments centered around racist or colorist messaging. Others slammed the costume and wig for not looking professional.
Diop posted a since-deleted Instagram message about the leaked image, saying “it was a sloppy photo.” She also reiterated, however, that “the hate speech that followed was deplorable,” according to Yahoo News.
— teen titans (@badpostitans) April 11, 2018
And during San Diego Comic-Con 2018, the Titans trailer was released. The trailer did nothing to quell the horde of negative feedback. In the trailer, Diop’s character looks much different than in the leaked photo, especially with the addition of CGI fire, glowing hair, and eyes. Even so, fans complained that Beast Boy was green, while Starfire was not orange. Others said she still looked bad in her costume.
Meanwhile, Diop continues to face backlash from the general public on her social media outlets. Even her Instagram posts about a new project, Jordan Peele’s Us, is receiving tons of negativity surrounding her Starfire casting, reported SyFyWire. Some of the comments even went as far as suggesting Starfire ought to have been cast by someone from a different race. In response, others asked why a person of a different race would better portray a character with orange skin.
However, there are fans that have posted comments in support of Diop and her role as Starfire. One user said that “I think you look fantastic as Starfire and I can’t wait to see it. They’re just jealous,” while another said “You are amazing. I saw you getting hate and I just wanted to make sure you know we got you.”