An Asian-American actress is calling out Hollywood for being "racist" due to its ongoing problem with whitewashing.
On Tuesday, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." star Chloe Bennet took to Instagram to applaud Ed Skrein for dropping out of the "Hellboy" reboot after he was accused of taking away the opportunity to play Japanese-American character Benjamin Daimio from an Asian actor.
In her caption, Bennet not only praised the former "Game of Thrones" star for standing up for the Asian-American community, but for helping Hollywood move towards becoming more inclusive.
"DAMN, that's a man. Thank you @edskrein for standing up against hollywoods continuous insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American community (sic)," she wrote. "There is no way this decision came lightly on your part, so thank you for your bravery and genuinely impactful step forward. I hope this inspires other actors/film makers to do the same.👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼--Also, dayum cute af AND a pioneer for social injustice?! Fellas, take note. That's how it's done."
While many fans loved how vocal and determined Bennet was to stick up for Asian roles, many questioned if she was the right person to do so, since she stopped using her Chinese surname, Wang, when she entered the industry.
Some called her a "hypocrite" and even claimed she "turned her back on her heritage and blood line," since she is half-Chinese. Naturally, Bennet hit back with a fierce response.
The comment on Instagram reads: "Changing my last name doesn't change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese. It means I had to pay my rent, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn't cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable. I'm doing everything I can, with the platform I have, to make sure no one has to change their name again, just so they can get work. So kindly love, fuck off."
Clearly Bennet is someone you don't want to mess with!
Hollywood is racist and wouldn't cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable.
According to Next Shark, the 25-year-old was actually a Shanghai pop star before she became an actress in the U.S. At that time, she was known by her birth name, Chloe Wang.
However, after struggling to land acting jobs because of her surname, she decided to change it. Wanting to continue paying respect to her father, who is Chinese, she chose to use his first name, Bennet, as her new professional last name.
Last year, Bennet opened up to The Daily Beast about her decision. "The first audition I went on after I changed my name, I got booked," she revealed. "So that's a pretty clear little snippet of how Hollywood works."
She also clarified that she wasn't trying to denounce her half-Chinese heritage by doing so. "I want to be clear because some of my Asian-American fans seem to think I [changed my last name] because I didn't want to be known as Chinese, but it's so the opposite," she added. "I just wanted to be known as me and let my personality define who I was, rather than my ethnicity."
I just wanted to be known as me and let my personality define who I was, rather than my ethnicity.
Here, Bennet is referring to the fact that Asian actors often get stuck playing stereotypical roles because those are the only ones available to them. By changing her surname, she wanted to prove that she's more than just her race and that Asian actors can find success.
We should all applaud Bennet for standing up for the Asian community and the awareness she's bringing to Asian roles in Hollywood.
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