When the creators of the 2019 remake of The Lion King posted a picture of the cast to hype up fans ahead of the film’s release, the last thing they expected was to anger SA fans over the exclusion of veteran actor John Kani.
The photo was shared by the film’s official twitter page on Monday, and it featured the likes of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, John Oliver and Beyoncé.
But far from creating a buzz, the photo drew widespread questions about the exclusion of John, and veteran US actor James Earl Jones, who will voice Mufasa in the film.
John, who has received accolades around the world for his work and starred in several Hollywood films, will voice Rafiki in the film that opens next week in cinemas.
While US Twitter was zoning in on James’ exclusion, local fans were demanding to know where John was.
Disney has yet to explain the actors’ exclusion, and social media has remained abuzz, with John topping the local trends list on Monday evening.
And fans were angry!
It’s not just the photo. Dr John Kani introduced isiXhosa to the B.Panther and wasn’t credited even behind the scenes now the Lion King? Lebo M is not even highly credited as the producer and music coordinator but they’re quick to mention Pharrell. It’s deeper than that guys.😔😔 pic.twitter.com/b9r5IGiL4Z
— Y A N D I 🖤👑 (@PreciousMalesa) July 9, 2019
Guys, relax, what if John Kani took this picture? 😂 #TheLionKing pic.twitter.com/C5u3Ex32q4
— Shonga (@Shonga_Mpahleni) July 8, 2019
I wouldn’t worry much about John Kani, that man knows his worth.
Ungathola ukuthi he didn’t make the picture, of the cast for the new version of the Lion King, because he made himself unavailable pic.twitter.com/cnOzKAnDgH
— Mjéyi Macingwane (@Sir_Mjeyi) July 8, 2019
Why isn’t there Mr John Kani? #LionKing
The level of disrespect here! pic.twitter.com/txBYzvpjL2
— Theo The Ninja™ (@Yung_TheoLogyZA) July 8, 2019
South Africans an jumping into conclusions what if Mr John Kani was not there during the day of the shoot – y’all are sensitive asf pic.twitter.com/QksIP6Iua1
— Riccardo_Elle ™ (@Riccardo_Elle) July 8, 2019
Opinions went from “America never loved us”, to superimposing John’s face on all the cast members in the photo.