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Doing Justice to the Classics

Further racist backlash against “Black Achilles”

In January Pharos documented a racist site commenting on the casting of David Gyasi to play Achilles in the BBC’s miniseries Troy: Fall of a City. The racist backlash against this casting has not, however, been confined to this one site. With Netflix streaming the miniseries in the US beginning on April 6th, we are updating our survey of racist commentary on the show. Pharos contributor Tim Whitmarsh has already written an excellent response to many of the arguments found on the sites below for Radio Times. Our responses are now available.

We found the following sites by surveying tweets about Troy: Fall of a City. Readers are invited to send us further examples at or via Twitter.

  • The Naked Truth is a racist and islamaphobic YouTube channel with videos such as “The invasion: thoughts on Islamic immigration in Europe” and “Meet Miss Helsinki 2017: the ‘Classic’ Nordic Beauty,” which objects to a black woman winning that prize. Their videos feature a narrator with a Scandinavian accent, in keeping with some white supremacists’ admiration of the supposed racial purity of those countries. The Naked Truth’s video on Troy: Fall of a City denounces the series as “a direct insult against Greeks and all European Culture.” The video calls the BBC “Black Bonkers Chimpanzee” (:35, complete with image of a gorilla, invoking the racist history of comparing Africans to apes) and accuses the network of “making Europeans believe there is nothing wrong with a black Achilles or a black Zeus and depriving them of their culture and their history in order to make them more susceptible to their globalist aims.” When the narrator complains about the miniseries “manipulating history,” the video shows a book with Hitler on the cover being taken away (2:15). The video has been viewed more than 37,000 times and has been tweeted with the anti-Semitic hashtag #zogThe Naked Truth’s video may be seen here, but those who click should be aware that the producers may earn income from it.
  • Mr. White Tuber is another YouTube channel with videos such as “Transgender Activism has gone too far,” “Oscars are White: so what?” and “Stop Assault Weapon Stupidity” (arguing against gun control). His videos all begin with a racially charged clip from Rocky of Rocky Balboa facing off against Apollo Creed. His video about Troy: Fall of a City is called “Black Greeks — Disgrace to Both Races.” In it he argues that the BBC is “insulting black culture by saying it’s not worthy enough to make original content” and that the races “need to get together.” But the subtext of the video is patently racist: it calls the miniseries “a slap in the face to white people” and says that casting a black actor to play Achilles amounts to “trash[ing] a people, trash[ing] their culture, treat[ing] them like shit.” It compares the Troy casting to casting a white actor to play Martin Luther King while showing footage of a minstrel show (7:39) and, echoing criticism from other misogynists, homophobes, and racists, complains that in Star Wars: The Last Jedi “every bad guy is white, and every other race is good.” Finally, the narrator remarks that Troy’s producers may be attempting “to impress their wives’ boyfriends” while showing an image suggesting that these “boyfriends” are black. A conventional alt-right insult about adultery is thus mixed with the racist stereotype of black men preying on white women and racist abhorrence of interracial relationshipsMr. White Tuber’s video may be seen here, but those who click should be aware that he may earn income from it.
"Our energy would be far better spent in rekindling our ancient pride in the enduring caliber of our West."

For the following articles we have linked to screenshots of each page to avoid generating revenue for them.

  • published a long article arguing that instead of “wast[ing]…wrath against Black Achilles, our energy would be far better spent in rekindling our ancient pride in the enduring caliber of our West,” and in “realiz[ing] what is ours, what belongs to us exclusively as Westerners, and what no other peoples in all the world, save in exceptional cases, can touch in any essential way.” The article contends that “it is obvious that the works of Homer might be admired by non-Westerners, might with profit be studied by them, and might even in exceptional cases be lived by them” but they “belong in spirit to the West alone” because “this work is a work of our blood, of our Western Culture.” The article denies that “a Black man born to a Western society” can “understand Homer…exclusively in a Homeric and Western spirit.” The article posits the “unique excellence” of “Western Culture” under whose “thrall” “innumerable peoples and customs have fallen…as if helpless in the face of this onslaught.” “‘Weak cultures’,” the article’s reasoning goes, “do not have the luxury of…appropriation; they must resort, as all weaker parties, to infiltration,” of which Troy: Fall of a City is an example. As is, according to the article, Black Panther, which the article describes as an example of Jewish “infiltration” of a “White” genre.
  • Among various racist and anti-semitic comments to the piece was one that argued against the article’s already racist argument that “a Black man born to a Western society” might be able to “understand Homer… in an African spirit:” “I of course admire the scholastic excellence of this article but the idea that a negro would read Homer is laughable to me…To suggest such a thing is as absurd as asserting that an aardvark is capable of composing a piano sonata. Trust me negroes are not reading AT ALL let alone reading HOMER !!! And THAT is what makes this casting of negroes in classical greek literature roles such an offensive affront to the senses. Might as well cast barnyard animals in those roles.”
"Is this promotion of inaccuracies because those in the entertainment industry have a higher percentage of Gays and want to normalize these abnormal sexual acts?"
  • An article on takes its title — “We wuz Greeks”from the racist “We wuz Kangz” meme and complains that with “someone of African descent filling the role of this important figure in Western civilization,” “a classic Greek hero has been altered and changed to fit modern 2018 diversity standards” in an example of “the entertainment industries pandering to the Social Justice Warrior crowd.”
  • decries the effect it believes the show will have on American children: “Right now I’m thinking of my friends in middle America and their four kids, sitting on their living room couch watching the series. What will they say when one of their boys turns and says– ‘Mommy, Daddy… I thought Achilles was Greek.’ Seriously, how does one answer that? ‘Oh it’s just Hollywood being silly?’ No. You can’t just say that. There are millions of people out there who are impressionable, or unfamiliar with Greek history, or just plain stupid.”
  • accuses the BBC of “peddl[ing] the same nonsense” as “the absurd, ahistorical Black Athena theory, which had posited that ancient Greeks were of African descent.” It imputes “sinister motives” to “some historical consultant at the BBC and Netflix” who is “driven by biased interpretation of history based on their postmodern, politically correct views.”
  • says the show “put[s] equality over historical accuracy,” which is being “sacrificed just because it is the politically correct thing to do to.”
  • A contributor to (“A place to share knowledge and better understand the world”), in an avowedly “slightly racist rant,” calls the casting an “insult to Greeks” and complains that there is an “active race-related and well funded propaganda material happening in USA and UK, designed to repaint European history differently, so that it appeals to wider set of races living in these countries.” His demand: “Don’t f*ck with history.”
  • This post from Quora was further commented on in a blog called My Personal Thoughts, which features many posts in support of the founder of the UK branch of the German anti-Islamic organization Pegida, whose logo shows a man throwing an islamic symbol into a garbage can marked with a swastika. The blogger adds a homophobic commentary, presumably in response to the series’ representation of the sexual relationship of Achilles and Patroclus: “The PC TV writers are putting a Gay Plot in every Soap and new TV series, They seem to think that in every walk of life Gay people are prominent in Society, yet the Government’s Office of National Statistics found just 2% of the population are Homosexual, Lesbian, Bisexual…Is this promotion of inaccuracies because those in the entertainment industry have a higher percentage of Gays and want to normalize these abnormal sexual acts?”

Those who wish to visit the original sites above (not the screenshots) may use these links:
My Personal Thoughts

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