George Takei Slammed Hollywood's Latest Whitewashing Of an Asian Character

May 4th 2016

Actor and activist George Takei just became the latest critic to condemn the film industry's whitewashing of Asian characters in film.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Takei called out Hollywood's controversial decision to cast white actress Tilda Swinton as a Tibertan man in Marvel's upcoming film "Doctor Strange."

"So let me get this straight," Takei wrote. "You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales…in Asia? This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting. Marvel must think we’re all idiots."

The filmmakers tried to justify their reason for casting Swinton, saying that they had purposely removed the Tibetan origins from the character out of fear they might offend the Chinese government and lose film marketing opportunities in the future, according to the New York Times.

But Takei wasn't buying it.

Facebook/George Takei - facebook.com

Takei went on to address critics who thought that the race of the character didn't matter since the character is fictional.

Facebook/George Takei - facebook.com

And lastly, Takei pointed out Hollywood's underlying problem of "systemic exclusion" of minorities and the overall lack of opportunity available to them in film and television. He has a point. According the to the 2015 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, white lead roles outnumber those of minorities in film and television 2-1 and 6-1 respectively.

Facebook/George Takei - facebook.com

The same thing can be said for the Hollywood's decision to cast white actress Scarlett Johansson as a Japanese hero in the upcoming film adaption of the famous manga series "Ghost in the Shell." The move prompted major backlash, with many people accusing Hollywood of whitewashing the beloved anime series.

In a statement to Mashable, Marvel stood by their decision to cast Swinton.

"Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast."

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