“The last of us” casting controversy

I’m sure most of you have heard of the new hit series on HBO Max titled The Last of Us. With a whopping score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an average of 29 million viewers per episode, saying the show is doing well would be an understatement. Based off the 2013 video game, The Last of Us takes place in an apocalyptic society where main characters Joel and Ellie work together to survive under grueling circumstances. In this series, Joel is played by 47-year-old actor Pedro Pascal and Ellie is played by 19-year-old actress Bella Ramsey.

As with most popular things, there has been a lot of hate and controversy over this show. Some fans of the video game are complaining that there is a “woke” agenda being pushed in the plot of the show by having a gay couple portrayed on screen. This is not an uncommon reaction from the gaming community, as there have been numerous studies done that show the toxicity and harassment players online show towards members of the LGBTQ+ community. However, one of the biggest controversy’s to come out of this show is massive hate towards main character Bella Ramsey.

In life, women are always judged and hated on for their looks. Bella Ramsey, an up and coming actress who has played roles in major shows such as Game of Thrones, is no exception. Even at such a young age, she is still being picked apart for not looking similar enough to the original character in the game. Rather than focusing on her incredible acting skills in such an emotionally challenged role, fans of the video game chose to pick apart her looks. They spread hate all over twitter as users were calling Ramsey “Too ugly to play Ellie” and saying she ruined the role because of her looks. In comparison, Pedro Pascal has been receiving a significantly less amount of hate for his role, with very few comments on his looks. All of the negativity started to affect Ramsey when she would read all of the comments online.

“It’s only recently I’ve accepted I am Ellie and I can do it and I am a good actor, but this will last for a few weeks and then I’ll think I’m terrible again”

-Bella Ramsey, New York Times

What makes this whole controversy even more unsettling is the fact that Bella Ramsey portrays a 14-year-old girl in the show. Why do some fans of the video game feel the need to comment on the appearance of a child? Ramsey was 17-years-old when she was cast as Ellie, and she says it was the most hate she had ever gotten from a role.

As the twitter user points out, it is extremely disturbing to hear grown men talk about the appearance of a child. True fans of the video game should be focusing on the acting and cinematography of the show, not something that has no effect on the quality of the series. Despite all the controversy, The Last of Us has been a major hit. While all of the bitter fans spend their time upset about the appearance of a fictional child, Bella Ramsey is thriving in major roles. She is even rumored to be writing a film of her own to direct!

This hate that Ramsey received is not a new issue for women working in the entertainment industry. Appearance tends to always be the first thing mentioned when women come on screen, particularly by men. It is great to see people calling other people out about the issue such as the twitter post above, and hopefully we can see even more of this in the future. The Last of Us tells an incredible story with a beautifully diverse cast, and that should be what people are talking about.

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