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Michael B. Jordan Calls The Racist 'Fantastic Four' Backlash "Expected"

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | March 7, 2014 | Comments ()


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You might have been surprised/disappointed by some of the racist responses to the news that Michael B. Jordan will be playing “historically” white Johnny Storm, but Jordan himself wasn’t all that surprised. Jordan recently said,

It was expected. You kinda know going into it that people are used to seeing something one way, it’s a continuity thing more than anything. People don’t like change too much. But annoyed? Eh, you just kinda accept it, it is what it is. You can’t make everybody happy. You just gotta accept that and know. I’m an actor, I have to do my job. I’m going to do my job the best I can and the way I’ve been doing it my entire life, my entire career. I grew up a comic book guy, I read comic books as a kid growing up, and the Fantastic Four/Human Torch is one of my favorite characters so I’m going to give it my everything. I can’t wait. I don’t really let it bother me at all. I just want to go into it and do the best job I can. We’ll see what happens.

Jordan is actually taking the high road there, citing “continuity” as the sticking point. But Jordan seems to be letting the rampant douchebaggery slide right off his back.

The Human Torch is, ‘yknow, that’s fun. That’s going to be a good time…To play a superhero? That’s dreams coming true. It’s not going to be hard. It’s going to be fun to kind of show a side of me that I don’t really get to show on screen, to be a little bit lighter, funnier, just more personality. It’s going to be fun.






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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Brian Thompson

    Wanting a faithful adaption equals racist now.
    Step one in casting find someone that looks like the character, then give the correct personality and backstory. Easy.
    Plenty of black comic fans think this is stupid too.

    They say there's lots of white characters and only some black so they change the races but there's next to no asian, hispanic, indian characters and no ever complains. Change some of the black well liked characters to one of those races.

  • He just levelled up to a Michael A. Jordan status in my book. Class act.

  • Nadiney

    What bugs me is how they'll all flip their shit, everyone will lose their fucking minds for months and months; and then they'll see the film anyway.
    They'll call him the n* word and they'll be awful, hateful bastards and just fucking terrible people and they'll go and see the film and it will make a shit ton of money and they'll get into bitchy arguments about the fact they used the wrong kind of fucking spandex for the super hero suits and the F on the four was the wrong shape.

    It goes back the same way. Before Frozen came out there was fucking uproar(especially on the tumblr) about the fact the races of the main characters had been changed and white washed. There where fucking essays written on the matter, some really well written and interesting ones about how the original folk story was about a distinct racial group. There would be epic essay arguments back and forth, some folks trying to justify the white washing, some people calling out for what it was.

    And then it came out and every single person that bitched saw that fucking movie and adored every second of it and now reposts gif sets of hilarious moments. Like, one blog might still make the argument about all that racism.
    They forgot the racism because the film was good, or didn't care because the film was good.

    All these morons.
    It's a movie about a man who can CATCH ON FIRE AT WILL. His sister turns invisible.
    Like....is he a good actor? That's the only important question. Can he act? Does he have charisma, charm, is he fun to watch on camera?

    He can? WE HAVE A MOVIE.
    This was the guy in Chronicle, right? This motherfucker is as charming as FUCK. He will be awesome.
    Calm your tits, racists. Calm your tits.

  • The single reaction I had to the news was "OH HE IS SO HANDSOME."

    Because what else matters, really?

    (Well OKAY, fine, he's a fantastic actor, but you know what I mean)

  • Gunnut2600

    Comic book fans complaining about continuity makes no fucking sense as all. Name one fucking comic book line, character, or even story arch that has not been retcon into oblivion.

    The whole reasons I grew up at the age of 14 and stopped spending money on comic books was because the fucking stories were meaningless.

  • PooPooNumber2

    I really don't think comic book fans think past the pages, they would be just as mad if a black comic book character was cast as white.

  • Tae

    Most aggravating moments of my childhood revisited:
    "You're adopted."
    "No, I'm not."
    "You have to be. Your mom is white and so's your dad."
    "He's my stepdad."
    "Your baby brother is white. You're adopted."
    "We have different fathers. Same mom. I'm not adopted."
    "My mom says you must be adopted, they just didn't tell you yet. You'll see."

    Lather, rinse, repeat until adulthood...

    Families come in all colours and configurations. Here's a tip, folks. It's
    none of your goddamned business how a black person and white person
    happen to be siblings. It happens all the time, and in 2014, nobody in
    the Western World should need an explanation as to the hows and whys.
    It's tantamount to demanding a detailed list of one's parent's sexual
    histories and you're gross for wanting it.

    My hope is that it's never addressed, commented on or explained in any way. They're siblings. Everyone accepts it without so much as a blink and the story is so good that everyone forgets that there was ever a Jessica Alba version.

  • Nadiney

    I'm white, my and dad are also white but I look nothing like my family. Just a fluke of genetics that I look more like my dads parents than anyone else.
    People ask me if I'm adopted, where I'm adopted from, they 'hilariously' try to guess what country I came from(Ireland or Russia are the main guesses)
    That bothers me. It upsets me. My mum was in labour with me for three days, that's what she tells people who ask her 'What little hovel did you pick her out of?' and I've had major, major, major hang ups my entire life about not being a 'real' part of my family, and I've struggled with the 'changeling delusion', this idea that maybe I actually am adopted, maybe I'm not from my family. Because I am different from them in many ways, my appearance, personality etc.
    So when people come up and are like 'you MUST be adopted' it really pisses me off. And I'm a white girl from a white family.
    I can not imagine the anger and disappointment and frustration you're dealing with. I can't. It fucking SUCKS. It sucks. People are so shitty.
    And fucking SO stupid. So stupid.

  • Tae

    Nadiney, I really appreciate your reply. It's super easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I'm alone in my "wait...maybe I was adopted! WAS I SWITCHED AT BIRTH?!?! WHERE IS MY REAL FAMILY?!?!?" headspace. I'm both incredibly relieved and deeply saddened to know that I am not the only one.

    At risk of making this an "all about my trauma" thread derailment, I will say that at least when I was a kid, it was other kids asking the adoption question. They were too young to know how rude they were being, so I take that with a grain of salt. It's NOW when people ask me where I'm from, and refuse to accept that I'm really a small-town girl from Southern Ontario, born and raised.
    "No, but really. WHERE are you from originally?"
    "Where is your family from?"
    God help me, but the answer is Southern England. It just is. I refuse to jump back 5 generations of family history to satisfy someone's intrusive delusion of small talk. Ugh.

    Rant over. Back to the topic at hand...

    Michael B.Jordan will be brilliant, or he won't. Only time can tell. Frankly, I'm having a much harder time visualizing Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm. Why isn't anybody talking about that?

  • Nadiney

    It's sad, considering that adopted kids can have huge identity issues, to think that if people ask me this, (especially as the older I get the more I do look like my dad!), what are they putting adopted kids through?

    And as you say, exactly. It's very easy to believe you're the only one with this Thing, this secret or problem that no one else understands, but to know other people do is, as you say, both good and bad.
    I've always been lucky, my parents are very loving but in hilarious ways forgetful. With five kids, me and my sister with very close birthdays in June and July, my birthday has been confused, forgotten, even my parents have made(and with them it's okay because I know they're joking) the occasional tease that I'm the milkmans, but in a sort of....in an in joke way? Like when people have been asking all day where they got me we just go 'the milkman' and people either realise they've pushed it or sort of...awkwardly move away from us...
    And exactly. If Michael B Jordan genuinely, truly is terrible, we'll all be honest and we'll say as much because we do that. If h e sucks, he sucks.
    If he's fantastic(seewhatididthereimsoclever) then fantastic, and we'll celebrate the awesome new Torch.
    Wait, sorry, Jamie Bell? As Ben Grimm?
    It's not even that Jamie Bell is bad? But as Ben Grimm? Huh.
    That one really does give me more pause. Much more. Jamie Bell? Huh.

  • Coolg82

    I like how he responded to the situation, but I think it was a silly move on the casting people's part. Odds are, though I guess its possible that its not, the script is mostly finished before they actually cast the film. So someone is going to have to shoehorn in "Oh, they're adopted" or "She is just a really light skined and he is just a really dark skined mixed race child." Its sloppy. Either make both Sue and Johnny black or make Reed Richards black. Unless of course them being adopted is an actual plot point, then its all good.

  • Davis

    1. Complaining about his casting isn't racist. Are people anti-semitic for not wanting wanting Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? It's just liberal white guilt from people on the internet, we get it you're not racist well done.
    2. No one actually gives a fuck about the casting, no one cares and no one is barely talking about it. Seriously no one is making a big deal about this except white liberal nerds.

    So people are allowed to complain about ben affleck, anne hathaway, tom hardy, jesse eisenberg, tom hardy, michael keaton but not michael.b jordan because he is black? So the new rule is only positive praise for black people or you're a scumbag bigoted racist fanboy? Alrighty then

    But I look forward to a blog post on Spike Lees racist rant though or the rampant misogyny in rap music today.

  • Ed

    Thank you! I'm so sick of this instant-racism judgement crap! No, I'm not happy he was cast, because I want to see what I grew up reading as closely mimicked on the screen as possible. The more you change the characters, the more distant it feels. That's all. And I don't get the deliberate choice to make him a black guy now. Why do that, if not for cheap controversy?

    And are we going to pretend that all the people on this board who are now squeeing in their pants over just how 'Not-Racist(tm)' they're trying to appear, and who are so busy pointing their crooked little finger everywhere else, would not also be crying 'racism' if Luke Cage, Sam Wilson or T'Challa would be cast using white actors?

    Because if there's even a pretense of consistency, they should be applauding all that too, right?

    A character's age, gender, ethnicity, background, etc. are all part of what makes them who they are. The more you change that, the further away you get from the source material, and I like movie/TV adaptations to stay as close to the source material as they can.
    Hey, let's make Shang-Chi a russian old lady! Why not? You don't hate russians, do you? Or old people? Or Women? Maybe Storm can be an asian dude! Etc. etc.

    And yeah, I'd be just as unhappy with a white Luke Cage. Gee, does that make me more racist or less? Sooo difficult....

  • Being a black man(and everything that goes with it) is an integral part of both Luke Cage's and T'Challa's identity and character. Being white isn't an integral part of Johnny Storm's identity, being on fire is. So it doesn't matter if he's played by a black guy as long as he can catch himself on fire.

  • Davis

    Yes but he's a white character so people should be allowed to complain about the change, just how people said wonder woman shouldn't be skinny.

  • As far as being 'allowed' to complain, I don't think the fundamental human right to nerd rage about comic book characters is in any danger of being infringed. So you can probably relax on that front.

  • Davis

    Well it is if people are going to be called racist by a bunch of white hypocrite liberal nerds.

  • Oh my God, no, someone was called a name on the Internet, how will they ever go on? Look, I've had a lot worse things said to me by people who were actually standing close enough to me to kiss me, so anonymous strangers don't faze me and they shouldn't worry you either.

    As for the alleged hypocrisy, everybody is a hypocrite about something at some point in their life. If it's something relatively minor and unimportant, extend a little grace, because you never know when you might need some your ownself.

  • Davis

    Yes someone didn't want a black man to play a white character how will life go on? Nice cop out right? Your point made no sense.

    Yes but it's major hypocrisy in most of these liberal blogger cases, how can you bitch out robin thicke for sexism but not go after pharrell and T.I? Or 99 percent of rappers? Most people will never call out a rapper for misogyny or racism or homophobia or anti-antisemitism and when they are confronted by this fact they make up some bullshit point, why you're just a white person who lives with to much privilege.

    It's like cate blancett complaining about women not being treated right at the oscars whilst collecting an award from woody allen. Accept some responbility you can't just say 'well everybody is a hypocrite once in their life'.

  • Wouldn't anti-antisemitism be a good thing? Why would you call someone out for that? It should be encouraged.

  • Davis

    Sorry typo you knew what i meant but just choose to ignore me because you know i'm right.

  • I don't think you know how 'ignoring' works...which would actually explain a lot. If I was ignoring you I wouldn't have responded last time. What I am doing is mocking you because you're determined to be offended and won't be told.

  • Davis

    You did ignore my points though, you didn't acknowledge anything i wrote and choose to pick on a typo. I'm not offended at all just point out the hypocrisy of most people and you're mocking me but not very well because it's obvious you can't think of a proper comeback thats why you're throwing these witty lines at me.

  • e jerry powell

    I don't see it as anything surprising either. The opinions are going to be out there, it's just that there are so many more channels for people to feel that they must use to express them without solicitation. Very few people these days -- myself included -- have the concept of discretion -- the idea that sometimes it's wisest to keep your opinions to yourself -- firmly in their minds.

  • logan

    If he and Sue are raised as brother and sister i have no problem with it but if they change him to be her BFF then i dont like it and I will tell you why.
    I read the FF when i was a kid and the FF was always the superhero family. Brother and sister and husband and wife and of course Ben a kind of a crazy but beloved uncle. To me their strength was in being a family cuz they sure weren't the most powerful even back then.

  • e jerry powell

    We're talking about an actor who played Erica Kane's stepson, here, and Erica never married a black man. All bets are off.

    ;-)

  • Maddy

    The saddest part about the backlash to this is how predictable it was.

  • Where's Wallace? The Class Act Lounge, that's where. My response would've been somewhat more expletive-filled.

  • jon29

    I'm assuming all those same sticklers for continuity were appropriately outraged when Johnny Storm showed up in The Avengers but kept insisting people call him Captain America. Right?

  • Naye

    He actually is taking the high road on it, because it has zero to do with continuity when those who take issue with the casting back up their claims with racism. But I want to talk about the expected part, because not a week ago I was telling a friend that as a Black person, I pretty much expect to be treated a certain type of way in certain situations. Not even any outright racist or disrespectful situations but, it's hard to explain...with mistrust or dismissive-ness? Ehh the how doesn't matter. The point is that I didn't even realize I had become conditioned to expect to be treated a certain type of way. This is probably a "duh" moment, but as a Black person that is acutely aware of mistreatment on the basis of race, I didn't even realize that I had become conditioned to this response, to the point where I didn't even care about it, I just acted around it. We've addressed this here on Pajiba though; the expectancy of a minority to die first in a film, or of major studios not to take a chance on Black leads, but yeeshh I didn't even realize I was walking it every day.

  • foolsage

    Bigotry is truly insidious. It surrounds us almost all the time, and it's often such a constant presence it's easy to stop noticing it, like the hum from a faulty generator.

  • Amen to that. It is hard to explain, but that is the best way I've heard it in a while.

  • cruzzercruz

    I wasn't surprised in the slightest. I knew the moment his name was rumored that there would be a backlash. People were outraged by both Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and by Idris Elba as Heimdall. While there were protests regarding Idris, I saw first hand how angrily racist people were about Jackson.

    When the first Iron Man was released, I saw it in a small town in upstate NY, and after the credits sequence introduced Fury, a middle aged white man stood up, turned to the audience, and said, "Just so you all know, Nick Fury isn't a n*****, he's supposed to be a white man," and stormed off. I was blindsided by the audacity and conviction of the hatred.

  • BlackRabbit

    Anger over Nick Fury doesn't even make sense, but Heimdall I kind of understood just because "black guy = Norse god" made me swerve for a moment. Then I rationalized it that Heimdall decided to pattern himself after Elba, and no one dared gainsay him. Hell, if had my choice of a new face for a day, I might pick his too.

  • Davis

    what does n***** mean?

  • sherryb23

    That story is profoundly depressing. Seriously. Someone deliver a joke or a funny gif stat, please.

  • Here you go:

  • e jerry powell

    WORK!

  • sherryb23

    Much better, thank you. :) This may be my new avatar for a bit...

  • PooPooNumber2

    Didn't they cast a white girl as Sue Storm? If so will one of them be adopted?

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Sue Storm: "Hi guys, this is my brother Johnny."

    Reed Richards: [looks confused]

    Ben Grimm: [also looks confused]

    Sue Storm: "Oh right, I'm adopted!"

  • e jerry powell

    Or albinism. Or other recessive trait genetic weirdness that pops up from time to time.

    ;-)

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Right. Because you can't have light skinned and dark skinned genetic siblings.

  • Davis

    How many biological white and black siblings do you know?

  • PooPooNumber2

    It's very unlikely assuming they have both the same father and mother, not that i'm complaining about the casting Michael B Jordan is great.

  • ScienceGeek

    There are lots of cases of mixed-race parents having TWINS that are
    each a different colour. They're obviously non-identical twins (but when they're the same gender, their features can be amazingly similar, just to add to the double-take factor), and it's basically a case of one kid getting a dominant 'dark' gene and the other getting a dominant 'pale' gene. There's a couple in the UK that have had that
    happen twice.

  • Justin Kuhn

    Liam Gallagher anyone?

  • e jerry powell

    I know it's a theater thing and fanboys don't go to the theater, but I would point to Phylicia Rashad playing Violet Weston in the Broadway run of August: Osage County. Willful suspension of disbelief and stuff, y'know?

  • cruzzercruz

    Most likely. That's one of the main talking points that the angry fanboys are using (mostly to cover up their inherent racism).

  • Bob Genghis Khan

    Good for him. Let the fanboys whine about it from their parents' basements while simultaneously continuing to have never seen The Wire or Friday Night Lights.

  • Or the underrated Chronicles for that matter.

  • patti livernash

    My Uncle Caleb just got red Ford Focus ST
    by working off of a computer. try this J­u­m­p­9­9­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • foolsage

    He was awesome in Chronicle. That, right there, sold me on him as the Human Torch. Fuck the haters.

  • Davis

    Eww I hope you're 13 if you actually used the word haters.

  • foolsage

    Your hopes are in vain I fear. I'm old enough not to give a shit whether you approve of my vernacular. :)

  • Davis

    Shit i better stop hating then, LOL sorry i'm so random sometimes xoxoxoxox

  • TK

    But using "eww" is downright sophisticated.

  • Davis

    So saying eww is more idiotic than saying the word hater? If you see a dead rat on the road and someone says eww it's not embarrassing but an adult calling someone a hater because they have a different opinion is plain stupid.

    'Hello Mr Hitler it's pretty shitty the way you're treating homosexuals and jewish' - Concerned person
    'Get lost hater' - Adolf Hitler

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