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‘This Should Not Have Happened’: HBO Addresses Claims That an Extra’s Skin Color Was Darkened for ‘Lovecraft Country’

HBO’s genre-blending drama series “Lovecraft Country” is under fire after an extra from the show recently made claims that her skin was darkened for her role. 

The video has only recently been making its way around social media, but a light-skinned young woman who goes by Kelli Amirah on TikTok claimed she was cast to play a younger version of a character for a photo that would briefly appear in an episode.

Kelli Amirah. @KelliAmirah/TikTok

She expressed that she debated telling the story and implored social media users not to “cancel” her for it. “One of the last jobs I worked before I moved to New York, I applied to a casting for a 20s African American woman to play the younger version of an actor in a wedding photo,” she explained. “So, I submit my info and my photos, and a couple days later, I get a call and say I’m booked. So, I go in early for a fitting. It’s a period piece, so it’s like a 1930s wedding dress. Really awesome.”

Amirah detailed the special treatment she received that differed from what she was accustomed to as an extra, including having her own trailer and having a production assistant take her breakfast order. She also revealed that she got to be in the same room with two of the lead cast members of the series. However, the young actress said that’s when things took “a turn for the worse.”

She claims that by that time the makeup artists were fully aware that she was lighter than the actress she was set to portray the younger version of and even spoke about it around her as they prepared to do her makeup. Though they noted that she was light-skinned, the artists said her features were spot-on of what the show needed.

“So like I’m half watching them do my makeup, halfway on my phone, and I notice like my foundation is getting darker and darker.” Amirah confessed she was uncomfortable and said had she known that would take place she never would’ve accepted the job, then she revealed a picture of her final look.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO stated that it was “very disappointed” after learning of Amirah’s experience. They added, “This should not have happened, and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t occur again in the future.”

In other clips, Amirah said as soon as production wrapped she returned to her trailer to remove her makeup. In a series of tweets, she took accountability for her “complacency in allowing ‘Lovecraft Country’ to darken my skin as a photo double for some set photography briefly featured in an episode.” She added, “It’s uncomfortable but it’s not wrong. I was weak and complacent in that moment.”

The young actress apologized, writing, “I always thought that ethically I would never be the type of light skinned actress stealing roles better suited for darker women. I don’t submit for things that I *know* aren’t a fit for me.” In later posts, she wrote, “But yeah, the entertainment industry needs to do better. I need to do better. I didn’t show up in the way I should have, and again, I’m sorry for that.”

Check out some of Amirah’s posts down below. 

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