Ever since Zendaya was cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans have speculated that she would play Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker's endgame love interest who was formerly portrayed by a redheaded Kirsten Dunst. Fans who saw the film — and spoilers ahead for those who have not — know that Zendaya's character, Michelle, does go by the nickname M.J., just like Mary Jane does in the Marvel Comics, suggesting that perhaps the Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club-inspired character is, in fact, Peter's future girlfriend. However, because Zendaya is Black, some trolls had an issue with her casting — and fellow actress Paris Jackson had zero time for any of that nonsense.
As reported by Teen Vogue, the model — who recently made her first TV appearance on Fox's Star — took to Twitter to share her thoughts about the so-called "controversy" surrounding M.J.'s casting.
It all started when a racist claimed Marvel had ruined Spider-Man by casting someone non-white in the role of M.J., because, in a story about a boy who has spider-like powers, that is the most unbelievable thing to happen.
"Nope..wont buy any @Marvel products. They compromised the story and the characters in the name of Political Correctness [PC]. #BoycottMARVEL"
That's disappointing and gross, but also pretty sure that Marvel doesn't need Archaic_1337 considering the legions of fans they company already boasts. (Not to mention the fact that Spider-Man: Homecoming has already earned a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) Jackson fired back to the hateful comment, writing:
"unfortunately some people have to work harder to get recognition for their talent. sick world we live in. zendaya still slays as usual."
It's awesome to see Jackson standing up for Zendaya, who definitely slays in the movie as a sarcastic, doodle-happy version of the iconic character. Of course, Zendaya is definitely capable of fighting her own battles: when she was criticized for wearing her hair in dreadlocks during a red carpet event by Giuliana Rancic on Fashion Police, the former Shake It Up! star penned a thoughtful response on Instagram, writing:
"There is already harsh criticism of African-American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough."
Of the controversy over playing M.J., Zendaya told The Hollywood Reporter she's taking it in stride.
"[Of] course there's going to be outrage over that because for some reason some people just aren't ready. I'm like, 'I don't know what America you live in, but from what I see when I walk outside my streets of New York right now, I see lots of diversity and I see the real world and it's beautiful, and that's what should be reflected and that's what is reflected so you're just going to have to get over it.'"
Zendaya can definitely hold her own, but it's great to see other young women in Hollywood have her back.