Was Regé-Jean Page rejected for a lead role in a TV show because he’s black? The breakout Bridgerton star set off a firestorm recently when he told The Hollywood Reporter that he auditioned for the DC superhero TV series Krypton but was overlooked for the role in favor of a white actor. He’s now coming out and responding to fans’ outrage.

Regé-Jean took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his dismay. To him “hearing about these conversations hurts no less,” and the “clarifications almost hurt more.”  

The casting choice was made despite the producers looking into “nontraditional casting,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Geoff Johns, co-chairman of DC Films vetoed the idea that Page could play Seg-El, whom Krypton centers, explaining that “Superman could not have a Black grandfather.”

According to Johns’ rep, the reason for sticking with a white actor was so fans of Man of Steel wouldn’t be disappointed. Johns believed fans would see Seg-El as an ancestor of Henry Cavil, who most recently donned the red cape on the big screen.

Johns apparently “never said Superman can’t have a black ancestor or be Black,” according to a statement his rep made to E! News. Previously, Johns was on board with LGBTQ+ characters in the DC Universe, like a 2006 Batwoman. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Johns prevented show creators from making Adam Strange gay or bisexual.

It is still unclear whether Johns’ decision to cast a white actor instead of Regé-Jean Page was racially motivated. However, it follows the controversy surrounding Joss Whedon’s racial misconduct during Justice League reshoots, continuing to paint a poor picture of the DC Universe and the management of Warner Bros.

As Page puts it, “We still fly.”

Regé-Jean Page has been a breakout star since he debuted in Netflix’s Bridgerton. Recently he shocked fans when he announced that he would not be returning for Season 2. Jonathon Bailey’s character will take center stage now that the Duke of Hastings’ story is complete.

Page wants to move away from the hottie persona he acquired from Bridgerton. In his SNL debut he tried to convince audiences that he is more than a heartthrob. His monologue was a hilarious attempt but fell short of selling his “shyness,” as the star puts it.

Moving forward, Page is set to appear in various high-profile projects like The Gray Man with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, as well as a film adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons. Page has also been considered as a replacement for Daniel Craig in the James Bond films.