Julia Roberts Being Cast As Harriet Tubman Somehow Has Twitter Dragging Cynthia Erivo

The recently released Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet, starring Cynthia Erivo, has had a controversial roll out, Many have expressed their disapproval in the fact that Erivo was tapped to play the title role of the iconic abolitionist. The controversy stems from a string of tweets circa 2013, in which Erivo, who is British, appeared to mock Black Americans and their “ghetto American accent.” She’s been canceled by many Black folks ever since, so her casting as a Black American historical figure was met with resistance.

Turns out, the casting of Harriet Tubman could have been even worse.

The story took an unexpected turn when, weeks after the film premiered, the film’s screenwriter and producer, Gregory Allen Howard, revealed that, two decades ago, a studio executive strongly suggested that Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts portray Tubman in the film. Yeah, you read that right

In a Q&A published earlier this month by Harriet studio Focus Features, Allen explained the strange story while recalling how “the climate in Hollywood… was very different” 25 years ago.

“I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,'” he said. “When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”

Luckily, Roberts was not cast as the American abolitionist and political activist. However, Allen’s story, and particularly the unnamed exec’s comment, has left a sour taste in the mouths of those who read the Q&A, with many admitting that while the remark is shocking, it’s not at all surprising to read. Take a look at their reaction below:

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