HBO has issued a response to the claim made by an extra on “Lovecraft Country” alleging the production darkened her skin color using makeup. The premium cable outlet said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter that it was “very disappointed” to learn of the claim, adding, “This should not have happened, and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t occur again in the future.”
Kelli Amirah posted a TikTok video last month explaining that her skin was darkened on “Lovecraft Country” in order to play a younger version of a character in a wedding photo that appeared in one episode. The actress noted she heard makeup artists saying she was “a little lighter” than the actress she was playing the younger version of, thus makeup was used on her face and hands to darken her skin.
“I notice my foundation is getting darker and darker,” Amirah said in the video. “I was so uncomfortable. I had no idea they were going to do this to me, and if I had known beforehand I would not have accepted the job. Who thought this was a good idea?”
The actress added in an additional video, “As soon as we wrapped I went right back to hair and makeup to ask for some makeup wipes because I refused to go out in the world like that.”
Amirah published a lengthy Twitter thread over the weekend (via THR) further elaborating on the “Lovecraft Country” incident, noting she “was weak and complacent” in the moment by not speaking up against the skin darkening.
“Here I am, in the makeup trailer of a major network production with the lead stars of the show, and they’re putting me in blackface,” Amirah wrote. “Now as this was happening I had so many conflicting thoughts in my head. This is wrong. Why did they hire me? I should say something. What would I say? What would happen? If I hold up this production how much money goes down the drain. What will be my repercussions?”
Amirah continued, “I didn’t say shit. I got very quiet and withdrawn and went through with the job like a coward. I was selfish and more concerned with the repercussions of my own career instead of doing what’s right and not participating in something that I knew was wrong.”
“Lovecraft Country” wrapped up its first season run on HBO in October. The series earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series Drama and five Critics’ Choice Television Award nominations, including Best Drama Series. Michael K. Williams won the CCA for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.