Anna Diop has some words to say about the leaked photos of her as DC Comics’ Starfire on Titans‘ set. DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. TV are planning on adapting the popular Teen Titans for a live-action TV series. The show will air exclusively on DC’s exclusive streaming platform that has yet to launch. Titans will be one of the platform’s premiere original shows, along with the long-awaited Young Justice season 3.

So far, a handful of photos have been released showing off Titans’ cast, but none for Starfire. That’s why it was a big deal when set photos leaked online yesterday revealing Diop as DC’s Starfire. In the photos, fans were able to get a glimpse of what Diop’s iteration of the superhero’s appearance. Unfortunately, the response was far from positive. In reaction, Titans actress Anna Diop has taken to social media to defend and explain her look, as well as fire back at the hate speech she’s received due to the set photos and in response to her casting as Starfire overall.

Related: DC’s Titans TV Show Set Photo Reveals Beast Boy & Raven

Anna Diop expressed disappointment in the set photos on Instagram today (below). According to the actress, the appearance of Starfire in the photos aren’t representative of what the character will look like in Titans. Not just because the picture was taken while the actress was “on a curb in 15 degree weather,” it just doesn’t show the effort that has gone into Titans in bringing the famous character to life. “It’s out of context and it’s a misrepresentation of the incredible character I get to play,” Diop explained, “and also a misrepresentation of the phenomenal production behind it all.”

However, the actress’ most important address referred to the disturbing comments she’s received regarding the color of her skin. Diop explained that, personally, she is “highly unbothered” by these comments, but that doesn’t mean she finds them at all tolerable. Diop wrote:

“Racist, derogatory, and/or cruel comments have nothing to do with the person on the receiving end of that abuse. And because I know this – I’m unfazed :) But for anyone out there who may not – I am here to remind you that whatever ugly and negative thing anyone ever chooses to say about you is always a reflection and revelation of themselves- it does NOT define you, and it certainly does NOT make you any less perfect than you are – Be you! Stay beautiful!”

#Breezy 🖤 To the ‘Titans’ fans: Yesterday a photo of me on set leaked online. And it was unfortunate because fans have been waiting MONTHS for a photo of ‘Starfire’ and a sloppy (😐) photo of me on a curb in 15 degree weather is what they got instead 😂 For the sake of our incredible fans - I hated that this is the first picture people are seeing. It’s out of context and it’s a misrepresentation of the incredible character I get to play. And also a misrepresentation of the phenomenal production behind it all. With that said - the hate speech that followed was deplorable. And though I am highly unbothered 💅🏿 I do want to use this as an opportunity to say that tearing people down is not something that I tolerate. For myself or anyone else. Too often social media is abused by some who find refuge in the anonymity and detachment it provides: misused as a tool to harass, abuse, and spew hatred at others. This is weak, sad, and a direct reflection of the abuser. Racist, derogatory, and/or cruel comments have nothing to do with the person on the receiving end of that abuse. And because I know this - I’m unfazed :) But for anyone out there who may not - I am here to remind you that whatever ugly and negative thing anyone ever chooses to say about you is always a reflection and revelation of themselves- it does NOT define you, and it certainly does NOT make you any less perfect than you are - Be you! Stay beautiful! Live breezy :) As always, Much love 💕

A post shared by Anna Diop (@the_annadiop) on

It’s a perfect response to a tirade of hate that’s not at all acceptable. While the set photos don’t inspire a ton of confidence in Starfire’s look, they are taken completely out of context. There’s a big difference between a candid and unofficial set photo and the final product, especially for a character on a superhero show who can emit ultraviolet energy and various other superpowers. Even though Starfire looks “sloppy,” which Diop herself admitted in her post, that doesn’t make it OK to make racist and hateful comments.

In the comics, Starfire aka Princess Koriand’r is from the alien planet of Tamaran. Like most Tamaraneans, Starfire’s skin has vibrant orange glow and fiery read hair. Diop, being African-American, obviously doesn’t have either physical quality. Plus, taking into account that Diop is human, Titans was never going to find an actress who looked exactly like Starfire in a set photo, no matter what her race.

In addition, as Diop implies, there’s probably a lot left to be revealed with Titans‘ Starfire. Previously, Diop herself teased that Starfire’s appearance would require VFX. So, it’s very likely that the leaked photos are just a very small fraction of what Diop will look like in the final product. When the final look of Starfire does release, though, it’s certainly okay to disagree with the look, especially if it significantly deviates from the comics. Criticism of Starfire’s look and design is perfectly reasonable, but any harsh response focused on Diop’s skin color are, to borrow the actress’ words, “deplorable.”

More: Rumored Titans Episode Titles May Confirm Jason Todd Appearance

Titans will premiere later this year on DC’s streaming service.

Source: Anna Diop

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