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Actress Danielle Rose Russell Receives Flood Of Support After Online Bullies Call Her 'Too Fat'

Photo: Lev Radin / Shutterstock
Danielle Rose Russell

Social media users are defending actress Danielle Rose Russell after she faced undeserved public backlash and body shaming from social media bullies this past week.

On March 27, author Sarah J. Maas announced on Instagram that her popular fantasy book series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, would be made into a show for Hulu.

Maas revealed that producer Ronald Moore, who worked on the fantasy romance series Outlander, will serve as her co-creator on the adaptation.

Danielle Rose Russell, who currently stars in The Vampire Diaries' spinoff Legacies, was put forth by some fans as a potential casting choice for the protagonist of Maas’s series, Feyre Archeron.

In the novels, Feyre is a young huntress who is kidnapped and brought to the faerie land of Prythian. The five books follow Feyre’s journey as she navigates politics and romance in the fictional world.

Many fans thought Russell would be perfect for the role, but others disagreed.

When it was discovered that the 21-year-old actress had followed Maas on Instagram and liked a post about the series being adapted, ACOTAR fans immediately began to attack her online, saying she would be a bad fit for the role.

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A flood of tweets accused Russell of being “too fat” to play Feyre, who is described as poor and malnourished at the start of the book series.

The actress received extreme hate and allegedly even death threats based solely on the rumor. The online harassment got so intense that Russell deleted her Twitter account and unfollowed everyone on her Instagram page. As of today, she is now following one account only, a private account belonging to a woman we could not find any information on.

The toxicity of this fantasy fandom seems to go far deeper than Danielle’s experience alone.

“SJM stans are saying that no one is perfect enough to play some of her characters for years now,” a Reddit user who is familiar with the fandom wrote. “I am genuinely worried for any actor who will join this project because they are probably going to get so much hate for not being absolutely unrealistically perfect.”

Other users echoed this sentiment. Some called the fandom “incredibly toxic,” and claimed that hardcore fans are prone to aggressively defend the novels and attack anyone with a conflicting viewpoint.

Unfortunately, this means Danielle Rose Russell may not be the only figure who will fall victim to disapproval and mockery from Maas’s fan base.

This is not the first time fans of a famous franchise have had toxic reactions on the topic of casting choices.

Kelly Marie Tran faced racism and body shaming from Star Wars fans online following her 2017 role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and actor John Boyega faced similar racial harassment throughout his involvement in the franchise.

The controversy over Russell’s fan-casting is also reminiscent of the public backlash directed at Jennifer Lawrence after she was cast as Katniss in 2012’s The Hunger Games.

Following her performance, several critics called Lawrence “too big” and said she didn’t look “hungry enough” to portray the impoverished protagonist.

Such complaints imply that people want female actresses to actually be starving and unhealthy in order to play the role of someone who suffers from these conditions, a sentiment that is inconsiderate at best and, at worst, downright cruel.

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This isn’t the first time Russell has faced body shaming.

In May of 2018, the young actress addressed the hate she had received for her role as Hope Mikaelson in The Originals.

She posted on her Instagram story that she had been unfairly judged for her “curvier body,” and that she refused to be affected by negative comments.

“I will rarely address this,” the actress wrote, “but: it’s extremely upsetting that people are calling me unworthy, a bad actress, or degrading me because I have curves.”

“My petite curves make me different from a lot of actresses out there, but I don’t look at them as anything less than beautiful,” she continued. “I love the fact that I have a curvier body, in fact, my curves make me feel empowered as a woman. It’s extremely saddening that people feel the need to judge me based on my differences from other actresses.”

Russell went on to state that the online bullying was harmful not only to her but to “other young women and men who don’t have a body up to your standards.”

Indeed, the conventionally attractive woman is far from overweight, and anyone with an average body type would be offended to hear hers being so heavily criticized.

The recent criticism leveled against Danielle for her appearance seem to have had the opposite effect of that intended.

Droves of fans have now come out to support Russell and promote her casting as Feyre in the ACOTAR series.

“I’ve seen tweets of Danielle Rose Russell being fat-shamed and slandered and this is not okay,” wrote one Twitter user. “She is gorgeous, talented, and has such a kind heart.”

“I hope Danielle Rose Russell is cast as Feyre,” declared another. “I can’t wait to see you lot cry about it.”

Danielle has previously shown strength in rising above online hate, and one can only hope she is able to ignore the public persecution this time around.

“I am the person I am today because of the challenges and patronizing I have faced throughout my entire career,” the actress said in a 2018 magazine interview.

“I feel so incredibly empowered to be a woman, and I won’t let anyone take that away from me.”

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Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.