Casting agent sacked over ‘The Hobbit’ racism row in New Zealand

Updated: Nov 30, 2010, 13:24 PM IST

Wellington: A casting agent for the New Zealand-based production of ‘The Hobbit’ has been fired.

According to the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) reports, the agent was dismissed after placing newspaper advertisements seeking extras with “light skin tones”.

The agent advertised in the Bay of Plenty Times, listing essential requirements for potential hobbits, including age (16-80), height - below 5ft, 7ins (170cm) for men and 5ft, 2ins (158cm) for women - and the requirement that women have light skin tones.

A spokesman for Wingnut Films, the production company owned by director Sir Peter Jackson, said no such instructions had been given to the casting company.

The sacking follows a complaint from a British Pakistani woman on a working holiday in New Zealand, who was told at a casting call for the two-part 500 million dollars production that she was not white enough to be a hobbit - a fictional human-like creature.

Naz Humphreys, a social policy researcher, said she had traveled from Auckland to Hamilton to participate in an extras audition for the highly anticipated prequel to ‘The Lord of the Rings films’.

“The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned. It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin,” she said.

ANI