Rita Moreno has received a barrage of critical remarks on social media. This response has been prompted by her defensive stance on Lin-Manuel Miranda and “In the Heights,” where she received heavy criticism for the lack of dark-skinned Afro Latinos in the star cast of the film.
On Tuesday night, Moreno appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to speak of her new documentary, “Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.” She later also spoke about the prevalent “In the Heights” debacle.
Moreno said the criticism had affected her negatively, especially because it had grown beyond her control. After the opening weekend of “In the Heights,” Root published many interviews with the director of the film. In the interviews, reporter Felice Leon called out the films’ casting choices.
Leon asked the director, Jon M. Chu if “In the Heights” is a privilege to “white-passing and light-skinned Latinx people. In response, Chu said they had tried their “best on all fronts” to get things right in the movie.
Additionally, Chu also referred to the musical performances in the movie which features Black and Afro Latino dancers. However, Chu’s defense was rejected by critics who claimed those actors have been demoted to background roles for a while.
In a statement defending the controversial movie, Rita Moreno said “You can never do right, it seems.” She also spoke about Lin Manuel, one of the co-producers of Moreno’s documentary. According to her, “He is the man who has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America.” She further expressed her gratitude to him for producing her documentary.
Upon being asked her stance on the matter, Rita Moreno affirmed that people should stop attacking the wrong person. She referred to several people who originate from Puertorriqueños and Guatemala, who are dark and also fair.
Despite responding ardently against the criticism directed to her documentary, Rita Moreno later took to Twitter to issue a public apology for her comments on the show. Moreno said that she was not only “disappointed in herself, but also acknowledged her condescending attitude towards Latin Americans.
Although Rita Moreno apologized for her mistakes, it seemed too late for netizens who had already started calling out her privilege. One such Twitter post pointed out how Moreno’s stance against Lin Manuel is correct, but she still fails to acknowledge the weak representation of Afro Latinos.
American writer and editor Ecleen Luzmilla Caraballo took offense to Rita Moreno’s claims of Lin Manuel bringing “Latino-ness” and “Puerto Rican-ness” to the U.S. Moreover, Latino writer Arturo Dominguez also blasted Moreno for her attitude, which should be “addressed” at the earliest.