Candace Owens says a white man can play Obama amid Anne Boleyn casting backlash

"Rachel McAdams can play Michelle."

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Conservative pundit Candace Owens has weighed in on the controversial casting of Jodie Turner-Smith as English queen Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, in an upcoming historical drama series.

When UK broadcaster Channel 5 announced that Turner-Smith, a Black woman, would play the 16th-century white queen, the news was met with an onslaught of racist backlash. Owens recently weighed in on the criticism via Twitter, writing “I’m actually totally fine with Jodie Turner playing the role of Anne Boleyn so long as the radical left promises to keep their mouth shut if in the future Henry Caville [sic] is selected to play Barack Obama and Rachel McAdams can play Michelle,” she wrote. “Not double standards- K?”

One follower sarcasticlly responded to her tweet with, “Yes, white people really need you to champion their cause…so oppressed.”

Per the synopsis, the Channel 5 drama “shines a feminist light on the final months of Boleyn’s life, re-imagining her struggle with Tudor England’s patriarchal society, her desire to secure a future for her daughter, Elizabeth, and the brutal reality of her failure to provide Henry with a male heir.”

Turner-Smith has addressed the negative response to her portraying Boleyn, telling the May issue of Glamour, “I did know it would be something that people felt very passionately about, either in a positive or a negative way, because Anne is a human in history who people feel very strongly about,” she said. “More than anything, I wanted to tell the human story at the centre of all of this.”

The U.K. native, who was born to Jamaican parents, joins a list of white actresses who previously portrayed Anne Boleyn, including Natalie Portman, Claire Foy and Natalie Dormer.

At the time of her casting announcement, Turner-Smith shared, “Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination,” referring to the show’s writer, Eve Hedderwick Turner.

Speaking to Variety about her upcoming series, the Queen and Slim star unpacked why “a lot of people” disagree with her playing the real-life queen due to her race.

“It’s one thing when you’re playing a fictional character,” she said at the time. “But it’s another thing when you’re playing somebody who existed in history, and that makes people feel uncomfortable and upset.”

As theGRIO previously reported, in February, Turner-Smith was featured in Vogue UK, where she opened up about her new role, how it resonated with her as a Black woman and what Boleyn’s story means for today’s audiences. 

“It resonated with me as a story about motherhood, having just had my own child, and it highlights the many ways in which female bodies were policed and politicized, and still are,” she explained. “In Anne’s case, whether her body ‘worked’ according to the patriarchy’s demands was literally a matter of survival.”

Turner-Smith’s Anne Boleyn is slated to premiere on the U.K.’s Channel 5 this year.

This story contains additional reporting by theGRIO’s Jared Alexander.

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