The Twilight novels by Stephenie Meyer are back in the headlines, and with them, a fresh wave of controversy — some recent and some unearthed. On Monday, Meyer revealed that a new novel in her acclaimed YA fantasy world is coming later this year. Since then, people have been re-examining Meyer's work, her legacy, and the signs of racism in both her work and in her personal conduct.
Meyer visited Good Morning America last week to announce her new novel, Midnight Sun, due out on Aug. 4. The book will re-tell the events of the original trilogy but from the perspective of vampire Edward Cullen, rather than teenager Bella Swan. Meyer has been discussing this idea since 2008, but now it is finally coming to fruition. Before long, fans were gathering online to revisit the Twilight franchise — both books and movies — and their complex feelings around it.
This involved fans revisiting Meyer's writing with a fresh perspective and an eye towards diversity and representation. Many were even more put off by Meyer's representation of Native Americans in her story than they were years ago, calling the writing exploitative. Some were also put off by the idea of Meyer profiting off of the name and customs of the Quileute tribe.
At the same time, fans noted the relative lack of diversity on-screen in the Twilight movies. Many revisited a 2018 interview with director Catherine Hardwicke, who shot the first movie. Hardwicke told The Daily Beast that the one point of contention between herself and Meyer was "that I wanted a lot more of the cast to be diverse."
Hardwicke noted that Meyer "had not really written it that way, so she probably just didn't see the world that way. And I was like oh my God, I want the vampires, I want them all — Alice, I wanted her to be Japanese! I had all these ideas. And she just could not accept the Cullens to be more diverse, because she had really seen them in her mind, she knew who each character was representing in a way, a personal friend or a relative or something. She said, 'I wrote that they had this pale glistening skin!'"
Hardwicke said that Meyer eventually came around to the idea of Kenyan-American actor Edi Gathegi playing the character Laurent, but she thought it was because he was "one of the antagonistic vampires." For this reason, some critics have now picked up the idea that Meyer would only agree to cast a non-white actor if they were to play a villain.
Social media and the entertainment-viewing public at large is still grappling with the global sensation of Twilight and its collective response to the series, but the allegations of racism against Meyer have cast a new light on the whole conversation. Here is what social media is saying about Meyer after the announcement of her new book.
'Doesn't Deserve to be Published'
Reminder that on top of profiting off the name of the Quilete tribe, Stephanie Meyer is racist af and doesn’t deserve to have any more work published. https://t.co/Z1G6hulghV— Big 🍑💣🐚 (@tradishskinbyrd) May 5, 2020
Native American Representation
Stephanie Meyer still ain't shit for her racist portrayal of the Quileute tribe. Like she really wrote the Indigenous characters as aggressive, misogynistic, abusive, child predators.— gap tooth doll (@bluinmoonlight) May 4, 2020
Hated for the Wrong Reasons
was twilight largely hated in its heyday because our culture is misogynistic and it was a ‘girl thing’? yes.— SUZANNE COLLINS'S WORLDBUILDING AIN'T SHIT 🔪 (@irllydiadeetz) May 5, 2020
is stephanie meyer a racist who perpetuated stereotypes of an already oppressed population and who helped normalize exceedingly abusive relationship dynamics? also yes.
the twilight director spilling the tea on stephanie meyer's racist ass is what im here for— daria morgendorfer stan account (@cloudydayboyy) May 7, 2020
“ I’ll only consider casting a black actor if he played a villain”
LOL. Stephanie Meyer is a racist fuck. Next.— Neeks 👑 (@NeekaLeek_) May 7, 2020
just found out stephanie meyer is a racist lol i really can’t enjoy anything— a (@pIayboithoti) May 9, 2020
i may be rly excited for midnight sun but i also can’t forget how racist stephanie meyer is bc she did the quileutes so fucking dirty in the books & irl— the devil (@TheraThePeasant) May 4, 2020
stephanie meyer making a comeback is a really stupid move because the 13 year old twihards are now extremely online gen zs who are now going to reread the books and realise how racist she is.— emma (@emamma_mia) May 8, 2020
Vote with Your Dollar
I guess Stephanie Meyer has a new Twilight book coming out.
If you wanna support a racist who’s bad at writing, save your money and just read a crazy relative’s Facebook comments.— Jay Whittaker (@ItsJayWhittaker) May 5, 2020
tw*l*ght is racist. don’t give stephanie meyer your money— alina🐇ありな (@alinakanin) May 4, 2020