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Neil Gaiman Slays Sexist, Racist Trolls to Defend the Honor of ‘The Sandman’ Cast

The Tweet is mightier than the sword.

The Sandman Dream captured

The long-awaited premiere of Netflix’s The Sandman is almost here, with Neil Gaiman’s epic comic book series coming to life on the streaming platform on August 5. Most fans of the series are foaming at the mouth for it. With each new image, casting news, and trailer, more and more people are getting hyped up for the release date.

But, as with all things nowadays, we can’t just enjoy the anticipation for an awesome-looking show. Internet trolls came out of the woodwork to criticize the casting choices and the show for being too “woke.” Luckily, Neil Gaiman has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior and regularly takes to social media to defend the talented actors of The Sandman.

Casting “controversy”

Most of the ridiculous attacks are based upon the casting of the characters Death, Desire, and Lucifer. Kirby Howell-Baptiste, a Black actress, plays Death, who mainly appeared as white in the comics. Lucifer, depicted as David Bowie-esque in the comics, will be played by actress Gwendoline Christie. Mason Alexander Park, a non-binary actor, plays Desire. The trolls cannot seem to fathom real people looking different from a comic book drawing.

However, if you bothered to read The Sandman comics, you would understand how none of these casting choices seems all that surprising—especially the casting of Desire, who is referred to by multiple pronouns because a silly social construct like gender cannot contain Desire. Desire cannot be contained.

Neil Gaiman: modern hero

Author Neil Gaiman understands our pain and slays the trolls as often as possible. At last weekend’s Sand Diego Comic-Con, Gaiman told Yahoo! Entertainment that he tries to ignore the negative comments, but sometimes he cannot keep silent when the actors of the show are attacked. Gaiman said, “And I mostly decided I was done with it because I know how good these performances are.”

This one he destroyed so thoroughly that the original tweet has been deleted:

His efforts have not gone unnoticed by the cast. Christie said that when she found out about Gaiman’s defensiveness, she wrote him a letter thanking him for being so committed to the cast. Vivienne Acheampong (who plays librarian Lucienne) said, “As an actor in this, and Neil just having our backs, and just believing in us and believing in this, makes it even more amazing.”

He’s also used retweets to amplify support from fans, as well:

Park added: “It’s really nice, because you don’t often get that. A lot of times, people are too busy to deal with the nonsense. But he’s one of the funniest people to follow on Twitter and just watch him troll people back. I get so much joy.”

It shows that these artists are people just like us trying to do their jobs and live their lives. So maybe think before you Tweet, or else Neil Gaiman will have to own you on social media.

(featured image: Sasha Haagensen/Getty Images for Amazon Studios)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. She fangirls over the X-Men, folklore podcasts, and historical fantasy. When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse and offspring.