Whitewashing: it’s not going away anytime soon, unfortunately.
Failing to live up to their vow to create more diversity in their programming, CBS has cast two white actors as the leads for their new NASA drama “Mission Control.”
The problem? Both “Grimm” actor David Giuntoli and “Unforgettable” actress Poppy Montgomery (who are both white) will be playing roles that were originally written for actors of colour.
The Wrap recently obtained an early draft of the script, which indicated that Montgomery’s character was supposed to be Caucasian and Latina and could speak Spanish, while Giuntoli’s character was supposed to be African-American.
David Giuntoli and Poppy Montgomery.
According to the show’s producers, the roles were offered to actors of colour but they all turned them down, reports The Wrap. (Insert major side-eye.)
Whitewashing is a problem that is happening all too often in Hollywood. Last year, CBS president Glenn Geller received a lot of criticism for the lack of diversity in the TV network’s fall programming. Out of the 10 new shows that were being released, all of them had white leads.
Geller reportedly admitted that the network has a diversity problem, saying, “We are definitely less diverse this year than last year and we need to do better.”
As a result, CBS launched an initiative in October to recruit more actors of colour for their TV shows. So far, the initiative has been able to find a handful of talented young actors including Alexa Adderley, who will be in an upcoming episode of CBS’s “Bull.”
While this new initiative is a step in the right direction, it remains to be seen whether or not any of these new recruits will fill leading roles.
And proving that diversity can lead to successful ratings, ABC shows “Fresh off the Boat,” “Black-ish,” and “Scandal” have become huge hits.
Kerry Washington, the star of "Scandal."
Nonetheless, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to inclusivity in Hollywood. More recently, Netflix cast a white actor to play the lead in an adaptation of the popular manga series “Death Note,” which prompted fans to create a petition to boycott the film. Netflix also recently came under fire for casting white actors in Marvel’s new show “Iron Fist.”
While we know actors of colour are in Hollywood and willing to work, it’s on the studios to write compelling and authentic roles for them and to stop giving white actors their parts.