One of the biggest complaints about Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Polish novels is the liberal race-swapping of key characters, especially the redheaded and blue-eyed Triss Merigold, who was unceremoniously turned into the equivalent of a human mocha latte. Well, showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich took to Twitter to defend why the dyrads are black, why Triss isn’t white, and why there’s all sorts of “diversity” running rampant in distracting ways within the upcoming live-action fantasy adventure show.
Niche Gamer spotted a Twitter thread made by Hissrich on July 26th, 2019 in response to Twitter user Kimiko accused Hissrich of following a Jewish agenda. This came after Hissrich took digs at One Angry Gamer for a previous article that criticized Hissirch and the production crew with about as much subtlety as Perrot’s Giselle being performed on a glass stage by autonomous jackhammers. This led to the showrunner attempting to assuage the masses and justify the changes made to key characters in show, explaining…
I am a public relations nightmare!
I haven’t forgotten. Hi from London. It’s an interesting place to write this, because it’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world per the 2011 census. Diversity seems organic here, whereas in America, we talk about it. A lot.
— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) July 26, 2019
From here, Hissrich goes into more detail about the reasoning behind all the race-swaps in Netflix’s The Witcher, writing…
“It makes sense that we do, because we have a long and checkered history of enslaving, abusing, and deriding people who aren’t white. When the scales have historically tipped so far in one direction, it’s natural to swing back in the other in order to find a middle ground.
“A lot of entertainment is made in America, so it makes sense that this frame of mind seeps into tv and movies as well. I can’t speak for any other shows, but I can tell you in terms of The Witcher, here are a few things that were on my mind when thinking about inclusivity: The books are Polish and packed with Slavic spirit. It was important to keep that same tone in our show. With that in mind, I asked around (especially to Polish friends): can the Slavic culture be reduced solely down to skin color? The answer was resounding: god, we hope not.”
Just to break through the speech for a little bit: it should be worth noting that respecting the culture isn’t about reducing it to race, it’s about honoring its legacy. Anyone who watched the trailer knows that Netflix’s vision of Sapkowski’s work is a far cry from the original work itself.
It’s funny, but Hissrich would be dragged through the mud by Left-wing media outlets if she even dared suggest that Black Panther include more whites and Asians in its depiction of fictional African tribes. The thing is, if they aren’t going to go out of their way to race-swap blacks, they shouldn’t go out of their way to race-swap whites. Not only is it a discourtesy to the source material, but it’s a disgrace to the rich culture that the material belongs to. But I digress.
Hissrich would go on to write…
“We’re making the show for 190 countries. In all creative adaptations, changes are made with the audience in mind. In the video games, Geralt & the Witchers have American accents. That’s not what was in the books, but developers wisely knew they should appeal to a broader base.
“The Witcher is REALLY interesting when it comes to depicting racism because it’s about species, not skin color. What makes characters “other” is the shape of their ears, height, etc. In the books, no one pays attention to skin color. In the series… no one does either. Period.
“In terms of casting, we welcomed everyone and anyone to put themselves forward to prove they could embody the character. We saw all ages, all ethnicities, all levels of talent, from movie stars to fans in Poland who’d never acted professionally before. We chose the best actors.
“I’ve been clear about my actions not being a result of “feeling liberal.” I hope this helps explain my true motivations: Polish culture not being synonymous with whiteness; appealing to a wider audience; honoring the books’ allegory for racism; finding the best actors.”
So basically, it’s about erasure of traditional expectations of Polish culture in order to appeal to the producers’ own sensibilities of “diversity” rather than trying to honor said Polish culture? Got it.
Hissrich, however, ended the public missive with a joke at the expense of everyone tired of seeing redheads being replaced in media with non-whites, and non-redheads.
– As for gingers — picket that shit. It’s a travesty. 😘
— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) July 26, 2019
Will picketing get Anna Shaffer replaced with someone who actually looks like Triss Merigold?
Hissrich was even called out about this in one of the previous Twitter threads, where she attempted to claim that the show was based on Sapkowski’s books, to which longtime readers noted that in the books Triss was described as being a blue-eyed and redheaded chick, and not a fuzzy-haired, brown-eyed chick.
It was pretty obvious from the description that Triss Merigold was obviously supposed to be white, but she was race-swapped for reasons that Hissrich still hasn’t really explained, other than that they’re trying to make the show reach a “wider” audience.
The thing is, once you’ve already distilled the interest of the fans by grossly mischaracterizing the core culture of the show’s characters, you’ve already lost. This is no longer The Witcher, either by Sapkowski’s own hand or by the sweat of the brow from CD Projekt Red’s studio. This is purely more of Netflix’s own agenda pushing to sate their intentions, and Hissrich admitted to that by acknowledging they changed casting to fit their goals of being diverse, and not to actually honor the source material, whether it be the books or the games.
At least now we have clear confirmation that Netflix’s iteration of The Witcher isn’t about being true to the source. So anytime someone says “But they’re basing it on the books!” point them to Hissrich’s comments where she’s acknowledging they’re trying to court a world audience instead of staying faithful to the original works.