Elon Musk took an unexpected journey into television criticism, seemingly siding with the trolls (internet, not mountain) who’ve blasted the new “Lord of the Rings” series for being too woke.
On the heels of racist backlash decrying the diverse casting on Amazon’s prequel series “The Rings of Power,” the SpaceX founder shared his gripes on social media about how masculinity is portrayed within the show.
“Tolkien is turning in his grave,” Musk tweeted, referring to author J.R.R. Tolkein,” before explaining exactly why in a second post. “Almost every male character so far is a coward, a jerk or both. Only Galadriel is brave, smart and nice.”
He went on to draw a strong distinction between the new series, which launched on the streaming service this month to much critical acclaim, and director Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, which he called “excellent.”
Galadriel, an elven warrior played here by Welsh actor Morfydd Clark, is undoubtedly the main character in the series as she fights to warn Middle-earth about the looming threat of Sauron during the Second Age.
But, of course, “The Rings of Power” is populated by many men of various types. Musk seems to have conveniently overlooked the heroic and newly created elf character Arondir played by Afro Puerto Rican actor Ismael Cruz Córdova, who has been subjected to racist online abuse since the series premiered.
One of the stronger reactions to Musk’s review came from fantasy author Neil Gaiman, who poked fun at the billionaire entrepreneur’s failed Twitter acquisition in a tweet that has since gone viral.
“Elon Musk doesn’t come to me for advice on how to fail to buy Twitter, and I don’t go to him for film, TV or literature criticism,” Gaiman wrote.
Musk’s comments arrive after trolls have attacked the fantasy series for “disrespecting the source material” by casting non-white actors in major roles and not making Galadriel “feminine” enough.
The racist backlash has prompted Amazon to suspend user reviews for 72 hours to prevent people from “review bombing” the show, according to Variety.
But Musk also took issue with how the outcry surrounding the prequel has been characterized, choosing to defend the series’ most vocal critics in another tweet.
“Those who claim any criticism of Rings of Power means you’re racist are outing themselves as closet racists,” he wrote.
Regardless of the controversy, “The Rings of Power” has been an undeniable hit for Amazon, which, of course, is owned by Musk’s fellow billionaire and rival Jeff Bezos.
The series, which has already been renewed for a second season, premiered last week to 25 million viewers, making it the biggest opening in the streaming platform’s history.