Riverdale's Ashleigh Murray and The Flash's Candice Patton both play different versions of traditionally white comic book characters Josie and Iris West, ironically on the same network, The CW. Because they're playing black versions of these popular characters, they have undoubtedly faced some ugly fans spouting racist junk.
Both spoke during a panel at POPSUGAR's Play/Ground festival, as reported by Comicbook.com. "For me, Iris West was traditionally white in the comic books. So, you know, comic book fans are very opinionated, very vocal. So it was very scary stepping into that role when I started the show," said Patton.
"And I remember our executive producer at the time, once I got cast, he was like, 'Don't go online. Just don't go on,'" she said. "But what's great is, I think over time, people have embraced me and have embraced this character and I think it's really important. And I think what's great is, you know, years to come, people will remember Iris West as being African-American. And that's a really, really cool thing."
Murray said she had a similar thing happen to her and Asha Bromfield while playing Josie and Melody, respectfully. In fact, the version of Josie in the Pussycats in Riverdale is an all-black group. Murray was also told to keep the online community at bay. Her aunt asked her how she would deal with online antagonizers.
"...I was like, 'We'll just worry about it when it comes," Murray said. "And then when it came, I did exactly that. They were like 'Just don't even go on the internet. Don't check social media.' And I have seen people say some really unfortunate things, but there was so much happiness and gratitude and support outside of that negativity, that it kinda outweighed it. And now it's just white noise. I don't even notice it or see it much anymore. And it's probably thanks to [Candice], because (she) had to go through it before I did. You probably made the transition a little bit easier."
Patton said that even though it means actresses like them will have to "take the brunt" of online harassment, "the easier it's going to get on every woman of color that comes after us that's cast on a show."
"...If I had to deal with crap online and harassment online so a girl who looks like me, ten years from now, can successfully be on these shows without any of that, then it's well worth it. I can take it."