Whitewashing Controversy Leads Actor to Bow Out of ‘Hellboy’

Ed Skrein won praise from fans for stepping down from his “Hellboy” role. (John Lamparski/ WireImage/Getty
Images/ Dark Horse Comics)


Ed Skrein is no longer playing Maj. Ben Daimio in the “Hellboy” reboot amid accusations of whitewashing from Asian-Americans.

The English actor made it official with a statement on his social media channels Monday, Aug. 28, saying in part that he had been “unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage.”

“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 voice in the arts,” Skrein, who noted he was of “mixed heritage,” wrote. “I feel it is important to honor and respect that. Therefore, I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately.”

Film producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin and distributors Lionsgate and Millennium backed up the former “Hellboy” star, whose part in the film was announced just last week.

“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this,” the statement issued to Deadline said. “We fully support his unselfish decision. It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material.”

Skrein’s exit follows a trend of whitewashing controversies happening lately, particularly as it relates to Asian-American characters. But it’s not just white actors feeling the heat. “Atlanta” star Lakeith Stanfield said he received backlash over “blackwashing” the Asain-American character L in Netflix’s “Death Note.”

Glimpse a Trend In Whitewashing Controversies

  1. Matt Damon Makes Distinction Between ‘Whitewashing’ and White Saviors Following Criticism of ‘The Great Wall’ Film
  2. ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ Sparks Online Boycott After Whitewashing Ancient Egyptians
  3. Scarlett Johansson’s Whitewashed ‘Ghost In the Shell’ Flops at Box Office

As a couple of Twitter users noted, in response to Skrein stepping down, that “blackwashing” doesn’t exist ….

… many applauded the “Deadpool” actor for giving space to nonwhite actors.

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