Nora Roberts defends Alyssa Milano's casting in adaptation of Brazen Virtue

The mystery and romance author has a message for critics of the Netflix adaptation's casting choice.

Netflix is doubling down on its romance game. And author Nora Roberts isn't interested in what internet critics have to say.

On Tuesday, the streamer announced plans to adapt Roberts' romantic suspense novel Brazen Virtue as a feature film starring Alyssa Milano as the heroine, Grace, a famous mystery novelist and crime expert who finds herself drawn into a real-life case when her sister is killed, exposing her sibling's double life as a webcam performer.

But not all of Roberts' fans were happy with the news, with many taking to the author's Facebook page to protest Milano's casting because of the actress' openly liberal views on social media. The comments got so out of hand that Roberts was compelled to respond to the backlash personally.

"I'm delighted Ms. Milano's been cast in the adaptation of Brazen Virtue for Netflix," Roberts said in an exclusive statement to EW. "To say I was stunned and appalled by some of the comments regarding the announcement on my Facebook page is a wild understatement. I spoke my piece, posted it publicly, and stand by it and Ms. Milano. To those who state they'll never read my work again due to differing political viewpoints and opinions, or because a talented, experienced actor will play a role, I can only say that's their choice. I believe Ms. Milano and I will survive it."

Monika Mitchell (Virgin River, The Knight Before Christmas) is primed to direct the series from a screenplay by Suzette Couture, Donald Martin, and Edithe Swensen.

The announcement reflects a continued investment in the romance genre on Netflix's part after the success of their TV series based on popular romance novels like Sweet Magnolias, Virgin River, and Bridgerton.

"I'm simply and sincerely appalled," Roberts first wrote on Facebook in response to the backlash surrounding Milano. "The vitriol, the hatred, the anger, the bitterness and the demands are astounding to me."

- Jesse Grant/Getty Images; Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Jesse Grant/Getty Images; Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Roberts went on to elaborate on her general stance to keep politics off her social media pages, but explained her decision to speak out. "I'm a liberal Democrat. always have been, always will be," she wrote. "And as one, I've always believed everyone has a right to their political beliefs, and has a right to express their opinions. But I don't have to tolerate insults and ugliness on my page...Others have used outright slurs against an actress, while claiming she should keep her opinions to herself."

"Some will never read me again because Milano will headline this adaption," she continued. "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. 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."

Roberts went on to speak to the grief and loss of the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wondering why the hardship hasn't taught us to need each other, rather than further divide us.

"Watch the movie when it comes out, or don't," she concluded. "But lobbing nastiness at an actress or threatening me doesn't do anything but illustrate your own limitations."

Representatives for Netflix and Milano did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

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