The upcoming Biblical epic Exodus has a lot of people talking, but for all the wrong reasons. The film, due in theaters on Christmas Day, has caused considerable outrage for casting white actors — Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton — as Moses and Rhamses, and only casting actors of color as thieves, lower-class citizens and slaves.
After months of silence, director Ridley Scott has finally opened up about the seemingly racist casting decisions, and his answer raised even more anger among the film's critics. "I can't mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such," the director told Variety. "I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up."
Many moviegoers on social media were angered by Scott's unfair binary: that his only choices for casting were between "Mohammad so-and-so" or a white A-list actor. Scott seems to be ignoring the multitude of marquee actors of color he could have considered for the roles.
Adding fuel to the fire, 83-year-old media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, jumped to the film's defense on Twitter and instigated even more backlash. "Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are," he tweeted. He later added, "Everybody-attacks last tweet. Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves.""
Murdoch finished his musings with, "Okay, there are many shades of color. Nothing racist about that, so calm down!"
The internet, of course, did not calm down, instead going into overdrive calling for a boycott of the big-budget film. Edgerton expressed his sympathy for those offended by the casting decisions back in August, but said, "It's not my job to make those [casting] decisions. I got asked to do a job and it would have been very hard to say no to that job."
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(Photo: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)