Viggo Mortensen has denounced far right Spanish political party Vox after it tweeted a meme featuring the actor playing Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.
The meme, shared by the nationalist party’s official Twitter account in April, showed Aragorn lining up to face off against the assembled hordes of Vox’s apparent enemies, including the media, Catalan separatists and a small ghost wearing the colours of the rainbow flag typically used to represent LGBT pride.
“Let the battle begin,” the party tweeted.
In a letter to the editor of Spanish newspaper El Pais, published on Tuesday, Mortensen said Vox’s use of his image was “absurd”.
“Not only is it absurd that I, the actor who embodied this character for [Lord of the Rings director] Peter Jackson, and a person interested in the rich variety of cultures and languages that exist in Spain and the world, is linked to an ultra-nationalist and neo-fascist political party,” the actor wrote, “it is even more ridiculous to use the character of Aragorn, a polyglot statesman who advocates knowledge and inclusion of the diverse races, customs and languages of Middle Earth, to legitimise an anti-immigrant, anti-feminist and Islamophobic political group.
“We must be attentive and proactive, like Aragorn in the Tolkien saga.”
The letter’s publication has drawn a significant reaction online. Both the name of the actor and his most famous character have been used widely on Twitter.
Many of those to comment supported the actor’s stance, while others pointed to Vox’s electoral success as proof of its popular appeal.
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Vox won 24 seats in April’s general election promising to “make Spain great again”. The party opposes multiculturalism, unrestricted migration and what it calls “radical feminism”.
It rejects the far-right label, but its policies on immigration and Islam place it in line with other far-right and populist parties in Europe.
The party’s success marks the first time a far right party has won seats in the Spanish parliament in almost 40 years.
In the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books of the same name, Mortensen plays Aragorn, a ranger in love with an elf.
One part of the fellowship which sets off to save Middle Earth from the evil Sauron, his companions include hobbits, a man, an elf, a dwarf and a wizard.
Warner Bros, the studio which made the film series, confirmed in April that it had not given permission for its intellectual property to be used by Vox.
“We know that the Lord of the Rings has many fans,” the studio tweeted in Spanish.
“But Warner Bros has not authorised the use of our intellectual property for any political campaign.”