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Francesca Amewudah-Rivers Tom Holland Romeo Juliet

Source: Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty Images/Robert Smith/Patrick McMullan vi / Getty

We were well aware that a segment of modern fan bases consists of some of the most toxic individuals ever to be granted a birth certificate. That said, we didn’t have toxic Shakespeare fans on our 2024 BINGO cards.

EW recently reported on the vitriolic racist backlash that Black actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers has been suffering since it was announced that she would play Juliet alongside Tom Holland’s Romeo in West End’s new production of the classic romantic tragedy, Romeo & Juliet. Things got so ugly that the play’s producers, the Jamie Lloyd Company, had to release a public statement condemning the hatred.


Following the announcement of our Romeo & Juliet cast, there has been a barrage of deplorable racist abuse online directed toward a member of our company. This must stop. We are working with a remarkable group of artists. We insist that they be free to create without facing online harassment. 


You can read the rest of their statement in the Instagram post below.

The Duke of York Theater where the play will be hosted also amplified the message on their social media platforms.

BBC Three Bad Education screening

Source: Ian West – PA Images / Getty

For those who aren’t familiar with Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, we direct you to the two season she spent playing “Blessing” on Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education in addition to her on-stage work in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play and her role in Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.


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