Nora Roberts is responding to criticism over Alyssa Milano being cast in a new Netflix movie based on her 1988 thriller "Brazen Virtue."
The bestselling novelist shared a statement on Facebook and her website Wednesday, saying she was "sincerely appalled" by some of her readers' online hostility after Milano was cast as mystery writer Grace McCabe.
After it was revealed Tuesday on Roberts' Facebook page that Milano would be playing the movie's protagonist, hundreds of angry fans began attacking the former "Who's the Boss?" star for her involvement in the #MeToo movement as well as for her outspoken criticism of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
"I’ve read many of the comments on Laura’s announcement of the Brazen Virtue adaption for Netflix, starring Allysa (sic) Milano. And I’m simply and sincerely appalled," Roberts wrote in her statement (referring to Laura Reeth, her personal publicist).
"The vitriol, the hatred, the anger, the bitterness and the demands are astounding to me. By and large I keep politics off my pages. That’s my choice. Now many readers have dragged their own onto this page, so I’m going to state, for the record. I’m a liberal Democrat, always have been, always will be. And as one, I’ve always believed everyone has a right to their political beliefs, and has a right to express their opinions," she continued. "But I don’t have to tolerate insults and ugliness on my page."
Roberts called out her hostile fans for using slurs to bash Milano and for suggesting she should keep her opinions to herself. "No doubt those same people would be quick to assert their own First Amendment rights," the author wrote.
Roberts also addressed angry fans who responded to news of Milano's casting by vowing to never read her books again.
"Some will never read me again because Milano will headline this adaption. One reader stated she intended to BURN all my books in her collection for this choice of actress. Think about that. Burning books. Get a visual? I sure do," Roberts wrote.
"Watch the movie when it comes out, or don’t. But lobbing nastiness at an actress or threatening me doesn’t do anything but illustrate your own limitations."
"Another claims she can only support ‘like-minded’ artists. Really? I only imagine the books, songs, movies I’d have missed if I felt this way and refused to read, watch, listen to those who contributed to or performed them who hold different political viewpoints from my own," she added.
Roberts also expressed dismay that the hardships during the coronavirus pandemic have not inspired people to treat each other more kindly.
"Over this past long, hard year, we’ve lost over 400,000 friends, loved ones, neighbors to COVID. We’ve been isolated from each other, and I for one yearn for the company of my pals again. I wonder, truly, why this grief, this hardship hasn’t taught so many of us we need each other," she wrote.
"Instead, as illustrated by that comment section, it’s hardened far too many into an us and them mentality. The viciousness I read in too many comments below hurts my heart. And realizing because I’m a liberal Democrat, many of those comments are directed at me for that reason alone is a real eye-opener," she lamented.
Roberts concluded her statement by issuing a final condemnation to her irate readers.
"Watch the movie when it comes out, or don’t. But lobbing nastiness at an actress or threatening me doesn’t do anything but illustrate your own limitations," she wrote.
Milano shared news of her casting on her own social media pages Tuesday, writing, "Incredibly excited to announce the adaptation of the great Nora Roberts’ #BrazenVirtue for @Netflix. I’m a huge Nora Roberts fan and I can’t wait to bring this book and role to life."