Thousands Sign Petition to Stop Casting of Leonardo DiCaprio As Persian Poet Rumi
The petition accuses Hollywood of whitewashing and comes on the heels of the viral hashtag #RumiWasntWhite
HOLLYWOOD — Over 5,000 people have signed a Care2 petition asking Oscar-winning screenwriter and producer David Franzoni and producer Stephen Joel Brown not to whitewash their planned biopic of the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi by casting Leonardo DiCaprio as the famed poet and philosopher. The petition asks the men to cast a Middle Eastern actor instead.
VIEW THE CARE2 PETITION HERE: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/750/067/632/
“Casting Leonardo DiCaprio as Rumi rewrites history, takes possession of Muslim accomplishments, and gives the credit to a white man,” writes Care2 petition author Valerie Janovic. “Now, when people think of Rumi, they’ll picture him with pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. Sign this petition to stop whitewashing history!”
The pair also noted they want Robert Downey Jr. to play Shams Tabrizi, Rumi’s teacher and spiritual advisor.
Franzoni and Brown told The Guardian they want the film to challenge the stereotypical portrayal of Muslim characters in Western media, but critics have fired back, saying whitewashing the men is a step in the wrong direction.
Other Care2 petitions have tackled Hollywood whitewashing in the recent past:
- More than 102,000 people signed a Care2 petition blasting DreamWorks for casting Scarlett Johansson as the lead in its live-action adaptation of the 1995 animated Japanese sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell
- More than 96,000 people signed a Care2 petition lambasting on Warner Bros. for casting white actress Rooney Mara as Tiger Lilly, a Native American character, in 2015’s Pan
- A Care2 petition blasted director Ridley Scott for failing to cast Egyptian actors in his 2014 Biblical film Exodus: Gods and Kings
- A Care2 petition asking Disney not to whitewash its upcoming live-action adaptation of Mulan gathered more than 84,000 signatures
Care2 (www.Care2.com) is a community of 34 million standing together for good. People are making world-changing impact with Care2, starting petitions and supporting each other’s campaigns to help individuals, animals and the environment. A pioneer of online advocacy since 1998, Care2 is a B Corporation, or social enterprise, using the power of business as a force for good.