The topic of whitewashing has been a long-time and growing concern for fans and the film industry. In the past few years alone, an increasing number of films and actors have been subject to criticism over the epidemic and, most recently, Hellboy actor Ed Skrein has been the latest to come under fire.
As a result of recent criticism regarding whitewashing within the production of Hellboy, Skrein has decided to step down from his role as Daimio in the film. The character is portrayed as Japanese-American in the comic books and Skrein’s casting yielded major backlash from fans.
Skrein posted a statement to his Twitter account on Monday explaining his reasons for leaving the role and supporting the need for ethnic diversity in the film industry. The actor wrote, “It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately. Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality.”
— Ed Skrein (@edskrein) August 28, 2017
In addition to Skrein’s statement, Hellboy comic creator Mike Mignola added his praise for the actor and his appreciation of the way the situation was handled.
— Mike Mignola (@artofmmignola) August 28, 2017
In the past few years, similar controversies have occurred on films such as Ghost in the Shell where Scarlett Johansson was cast in a role which is portrayed originally as a Japanese cyborg and in Doctor Strange where Tilda Swinton was cast in a role that was originally meant to be an Asian male.
In Skrein’s statement, he says he hopes his actions will help make a difference in the movement of celebrating diversity and ethnicity in Hollywood blockbusters.
What do you think of Ed Skrein’s decision to step down from his role in the upcoming Hellboy film? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
A karaoke obsessed, craft beer enthusiast and lover of all things pop culture, Denise enjoys all facets of entertainment from Broadway to box office blockbusters. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, concerts (lots and lots of concerts), volunteering, reading and playing with her rescue kitten, Samantha (who rescued who, right?).