For some reason that we will never understand, people on Twitter keep showing their asses to Neil Gaiman. Metaphorically, at least. (Though for all I know, they try to do it literally too. It is the Internet, after all.) You would think after all this time that they would learn. He is well-known for clapping back at people who express ignorant, racist, and/or misogynistic comments. Particularly about his own work. Which – and I can’t believe this must be stated – he knows more about than them.
But they keep trying. So he keeps putting them in their place. And as one one would expect from the author of such stories as The Sandman and Stardust, he does so with style. Folks, it’s a thing of beauty. Here are some highlights:
In The Sandman series on Netflix, Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays Death. As anyone who’s watched the series can attest, her performance is a tour de force tht stands out, even amidst an all-around stellar cast. But, hey, she’s a Black woman. So of course certain segments of the Internet handled the casting with all the grace and acceptance that one would expect.
Unlike some show creatives we could name, however, Neil Gaiman isn’t entertaining your shit. And unfortunately for the trolls, he actually knows his own work. Better than they do, certainly.
When one “fan” expressed “jarring disappointment” that Death would be a black woman – saying it would be just as bad if Dream were a Black man – Neil Gaiman didn’t just show up to the party. The man brought receipts. Panels from issue 9 of the comic. Oh, and he pointed out that Dream was a “Black dude” in the Netflix series. At least for a few scenes of one episode.
It looks like the original poster might have deleted his (ignorant, racist) Tweet. Though like the North, Twitter remembers. And has screen caps! But, honestly, if he was smart, the original poster have deleted his entire account. You just don’t come back from an ass spanking that epic. Not to mention public.
And speaking of “fans” who would have to delete any trace of their presence online to recover from the shame and embarrassment of a Gaiman-delivered beatdown, there’s this gem:
Thanks, Kate Jones, for making sure this screencap would live in posterity forever. As for the Facebook “fan” who fucked around and found out, well…that smackdown had to hurt. For those who actually have a passing familiarity with Netflix’s The Sandman, Gaiman’s clapback was especially piquant. (Mild spoiler alert! Delirium doesn’t even appear in the first season of the show.) Best guess is the poster saw Vanesu Samunyai as Rose Walker and decided to go for the Ignorance Hat Trick: racist, misogynistic, and just plain wrong. A fact which Gaiman himself has no problem pointing out to those who might otherwise be confused.
I mean, there’s a good chance if you have to start your question with, “I’m absolutely not racist but…” you’re about to say something incredibly racist. But anyway, Gaiman cast Delirium to irritate this person specifically, indeed.
And if Gaiman’s receipts aren’t good enough for you, he’ll happily assign you some homework. He’s giving that way.
If you take him up on his offer, though, you better make sure you’ve checked, double-checked, and cross-checked those references he requested. It would be a shame to get publicly spanked twice.
Make no mistake about it. Gaiman is absolutely done with trolls online spewing bigoted ignorance about The Sandman casting. In his own words:
So to the trolls out there who feel like “Death can’t be Black because…eyeliner looks different on melanated skin or something” is some kind of hot take they should share with the world? You should probably take a break from the Internet for a while and work on yourselves, instead. You should definitely stop coming for the actors of The Sandman entirely, because Neil Gaiman will make sure it won’t end well for you if you do. And that’s just embarrassing for you.
The Sandman is streaming now on Netflix.