Best and Worst Internet Reactions to Mehcad Brooks's Casting as Jimmy Olsen
Jimmy Olsen is no longer a redhead, and the always dependable internet had many things to say on the matter.
There were a few hesitations about the casting that seem somewhat legitimate; some thought that he was older than the comics character is usually portrayed, others were incensed that he was going to be Supergirl's love interest, or that such a milquetoast character was going to be in the show at all. One of the most common (and amusing) complaints is that Mehcad Brooks is simply too good-looking to play nerdy, awkward Jimmy Olsen (although I had a big crush on Aaron Ashmore in Smallville, just saying). But, of course, the internet is terrible, so there were plenty of people who took to Twitter, Reddit, and comment sections to whine about Brooks being black. Fortunately, there were also a lot of clever people to make fun of them:
The racists came in a few different varieties:
The ones who get right to the point
ARE YOU KIDDING ME DC?!?!?!? YOU CAST A BLACK JIMMY OLSEN!?!?!?!? UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Lemongräb (@wizizwiz) January 29, 2015
Why is Jimmy Olsen black???— M. (@Not_TheWeeknd) January 29, 2015
The classic "I'm not racist, but...":
The ones who LOVE to make this argument:
Ive officially had it w/comic books made into shows. Now for the new Supergirl Jimmy Olson is black. I want Black Panther/Blade to be WHITE!— Lucy Day (@daylucy44) January 29, 2015
There were many tweets/comments in this same vein, so let's just get this out of the way. It's not the same. First of all, for characters like Black Panther, their ethnicity is often an important part of their storylines, while Jimmy Olsen is not significantly impacted by his race in the comics. This will often be the case for white characters, because society sees whiteness as default, so there's generally no need to have a storyline surrounding a character's whiteness, unless they're being racist.
Some have been saying, "I'm fine with black characters, but we should write new ones rather than changing traditionally white characters." There's an argument to be made that this would be a better avenue to take for diversifying, but it's not quite that simple. There's a paucity of black characters, and especially iconic black characters, specifically because they are underrepresented in comics. So if using popular characters is going to bring more viewers in, and most of the popular characters are white, then this will lead to severe white-washing in the adaptations. This Twitter user said it best:
Black Jimmy Olsen! I'm so in favour of blackwashing comic book character. Or well, un-whitewashing them, really.— mordicai (@mordicai) January 29, 2015
The incomprehensible crybabies:
And then this truly terrifying nonsense:
No, Reddit, I'm not subscribed to /r/Coontown, thanks so much for clearing that up.
I went down the rabbit hole, guys. This is from a subreddit called /r/Coontown, which was formed because, I kid you not, the creators thought that these people were "SJWs."
And the comments were equally charming:
I mean, it's a television show, so yeah, it is a movie you won't be seeing, I guess?
The lesson I learned today: never go on Reddit. Nothing good ever comes from it.
But then these people came to restore my faith in humanity:
CBS exec 1: Some people on the internet aren't happy with the Jimmy Olsen casting. CBS exec 2: They have the internet in 1964?— Joseph Slingerland (@3rdFloorRye) January 29, 2015
Female Ghostbusters? Black Jimmy Olsen? What's next, a white Jesus?— Jim Bones (@JimBones610) January 29, 2015
And that, in short, is the answer to people who say, "But I would be just as upset if they changed a non-white character to a white character..."
Lady Ghostbusters! Black Jimmy Olsen! What's next?!? A Ronald Reagan who sells arms to Muslim extremists?!?! (Oh wait...)— Paul Bruno (@UnblinkingEar) January 29, 2015
A black Jimmy Olsen is fine. When we don't finish discussing Ferguson or Eric Garner, we don't get to pretend like Supergirl matters.— Da7e Gonzales (@Da7e) January 29, 2015
Superman's not racist, but...
"Well, I was talking to my BLACK BEST FRIEND JIMMY OLSEN, and he totally agrees that..." - Superman, who's not racist, but...— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) January 29, 2015
The real problem:
Needed levity amid the racism: "Everyone knows Jimmy Olsen is not bald." http://t.co/olZZz2LBwI— Matt Mitovich (@MattMitovich) January 29, 2015
Those frakking immigrants:
Seeing some ugly tweets about the great Jimmy Olsen casting. Wait until these people find out Superman is a refugee... from another planet!— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) January 29, 2015
This was actually a common complaint
"Outraged by this Jimmy Olsen casting. Jimmy Olsen is NOT a cool guy with a winning smile!" —A finer internet— Brendan McGinley (@brendanmcginley) January 29, 2015
"Stud washing" the Jimmy Olsen on Supergirl is "Stud washing." pic.twitter.com/zumJCnqLwV— Philip Lopez (@firehawk32) January 29, 2015
We're about to live in a world in which a shirtless Jimmy Olsen will be something enjoyed by many on a weekly basis. THE HUMANITY.— Christian Hoffer (@OH_IGW) January 29, 2015
@CBS You can make the new Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl any race, gender, handicap you like but the 1 thing you don't do is make him attractive.— David Mitchell (@MitchellD4) January 29, 2015