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Rita Moreno apologizes for defending Lin-Manuel Miranda amid In the Heights colorism controversy

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ABC

Rita Moreno is walking back the remarks she made in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has come under fire for casting mostly lighter-skinned Latino actors in his big-screen adaptation of his In The Heights musical.

During Tuesday night’s episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Moreno said critics were “attacking the wrong person” and Miranda “is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America.”

“I couldn’t do it. I mean, I would love to say I did, but I couldn’t. Lin-Manuel has done that, really single-handedly,” Moreno fumed, and wished critics would leave the film alone, “just for now.”

The 89-year-old Oscar-winner has since issued a two-part apology on Twitter, where she admitted Wednesday, “I’m incredibly disappointed with myself.”

“While making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Colbert Show last night, I was clearly dismissive of black lives that matter in our Latin community,” she continued. “It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others.”

In a follow-up tweet, Moreno stated, “In addition to applauding Lin for his wonderful movie version of In The Heights, let me add my appreciation for his sensitivity and resolve to be more inclusive of the Afro-Latino community going forward.”

She signed off with, “See, you CAN teach this old dog new tricks – RITA.”

In the Heights, a movie adaptation of Miranda’s Tony-winning musical, has been accused of “colorism” for not featuring enough darker-skinned Afro-Latino actors that reflect the community living in the movie’s real-life setting of the New York City neighborhood Washington Heights.

Miranda — who produced and starred in the movie — apologized Monday for the film’s shortcomings and vowed to do better.

 

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