Following his selection to play Corlys Velaryon in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel HBO series House of the Dragon, Steve Toussaint has disclosed that he became the object of racist taunts.
The British actor, 57, admitted to underestimating the reaction when he was chosen for the first important role for a person of color in the Game of Thrones realm in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
‘When I got the gig, I literally was like, “It’s just another role because I have Black friends who had small parts or recurring parts in’ Game of Thrones,’ Toussaint told the outlet. ‘I didn’t realize it was a bigger deal until I was racially abused on social media when it was announced. Yeah, that s*** happened.’
The actor said that one person called him the N-word and others had made art to mock his casting on the series.
Touissant said: ‘There was also a Black American chap who is a big fan of the show who contacted me saying that he gets abuse because he championed me for the part.
‘On platforms like Reddit, which I’m not on, there are such discussions going on about it. I was like, “Oh wow,” and then I thought, “Okay, this means a lot to some people,” but I can’t allow that to bother me.’
Toussaint noted that he’s heard from various colleagues in the entertainment industry who have also been the target of racist messages after being placed into high-profile roles.
He said that someone he’s ‘known for a long time’ was the recipient of racist messages after getting a role on a Marvel project.
‘A friend of mine who played Hermione in the stage version of Harry Potter, she got it,’ Toussaint said. ‘I’ve worked with John Boyega, and he got it. If it bothers you so much, don’t watch.’