The internet has no shortage of stories about whitewashing, but the latest controversy surrounding white actor Ed Skrein, who was cast as Japanese-American character Benjamin Daimio in the "Hellboy" reboot, is proving to be quite problematic.
On Twitter, executive producer Christa Campbell had a pretty unfortunate response when defending the film's casting choice to one particular user named Mike Smith.
In his tweet, Smith called Campbell "racist" and threatened to boycott all her films, including the recently released "The Hitman's Bodyguard," which she also produced.
I thought about seeing it, but now that I know you're a racist, given your whitewashed Hellboy casting, I will boycott anything you produce.— Mike Smith (@bladeoffire1) August 22, 2017
According to NextShark, Campbell responded in a now-deleted tweet, saying, "Someone comes and does a great audition to get the role. Stop projecting your own shit onto us. We are all one. We don't see colours or race."
This comment raised more than just a few eyebrows, as many consider the phrase "I don't see colour" equivalent to saying "I'm ignorant."
And this is the problem - they don't (or they refuse to) "see colors or race" when, in fact, colors and race exist. Not everything is white. https://t.co/Q4vueru9X3— Julia Morizawa (@juliamorizawa) August 24, 2017
HELLBOY producer acting like not casting a talented Asian actor is meritocratic. Ignoring race is just another form of white privilege https://t.co/xkKefFwbqg— Sam Flynn (@Samflynn1992) August 24, 2017
"'Colorblindness' doesn't acknowledge the very real ways in which racism has existed and continues to exist, both in individuals and systemically," he wrote in 2015. "By professing not to see race, you're just ignoring racism, not solving it."
When a user jumped into the Twitter conversation to side with Campbell, another responded by saying that they simply "didn't understand the issue."
This is why I'm suggesting that you educate yourself, H, because you truly don't understand the issue. or don't want to.— Cindy (@sindee_ne) August 24, 2017
That in turn prompted Campbell to defend the movie once more in another now-deleted tweet: "Issue? Please... The best actor gets the job. Stop using the 'racist' word. My family is from Thailand. And a mixed culture. Get a life."
Campbell's tweets are problematic because she doesn't recognize the casting in "Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen" as whitewashing at all.
Going by that brilliant logic, a white person could portray MLK, as long as he's "the best actor." Whitewashing is RACIST. Period.— Mike Smith (@bladeoffire1) August 24, 2017
In addition to that, fans are upset because they don't believe a white actor can do character Benjamin Daimio's character justice, when Daimio's Japanese heritage is supposed to play a vital role in the film's plot. And on top of all that, Skrein took the opportunity away from an Asian actor.
As we know from plenty of whitewashing controversies in the past, this is an issue because Asian actors rarely get the chance to play lead roles in Hollywood, and when they do, they are often stereotypical.
On Twitter, many still can't believe Campbell's response to whitewashing and are continuing to call her out.
Colorblind is a copout. https://t.co/yIL64gWyad— L.L. McKinney (@ElleOnWords) August 24, 2017
1. Precisely what's wrong with seeing color Christa.— Shanelle Little (@ShanelleLittle) August 24, 2017
2. Show us the casting call and the how many Asian men were invited to audition. https://t.co/S9OLwPBDmK
The Asian community just wants to see themselves represented onscreen and have their voices heard and stories told. Unfortunately, that will never happen if people continue to be ignorant about the issue of whitewashing and continue to take away opportunities to change it.