Comic Books

George Takei hits out at Marvel for ‘whitewashing’ Asian characters

Joe Williams May 3, 2016
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The Star Trek legend has accused Marvel of treating fans like ‘idiots’.

​George Takei has lashed out at upcoming Marvel film Doctor Strange’s controversial ‘whitewash’ casting of The Ancient One.

Tilda Swinton – who is white – has been cast in the role, while the character in the comics actually comes from Tibet.

George Takei hits out at Marvel for ‘whitewashing’ Asian characters

The original character has been labelled an archaic, racist stereotype by comic fans, with many welcoming an updated version.

However, film makers have been criticised for their decision to cast a white actor in the role, rather than an Asian one.

Bizarrely, one of the movie’s writers defended the casting by arguing that the decision would avoid alienating China.

He also hit out at “social justice warriors” idiots, who he claimed were blowing the issue out of proportion.

Marvel released a supporting statement, claiming that it has a “very strong record of diversity in its casting of films” – despite having no leading Asian or LGBT heroes in any of its major films.

In response to the studio’s claims, Takei – who himself appeared on popular sci-fi series Heroes – took to Facebook to ridicule Marvel’s attempts to justify its actions.

“Let me get this straight,” he wrote. “You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales… in Asia?

“This back pedalling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting. Marvel must think we’re all idiots.”

Earlier this year, Takei also demanded an apology from Oscars organisers – after jokes about Asians at the Academy Awards.

George Takei hits out at Marvel for ‘whitewashing’ Asian characters

Oscars host Chris Rock attracted ire for the skit, which featured three Asian kids dressed as accountants – while Sacha Baron Cohen also joked about Asian genitals.

He also criticised Donald Trump’s highly controversial plan to ban all Muslims from the United States, after Trump compared his proposal to the internment of Japanese-Americans throughout the Second World War.

Doctor Strange hits cinemas October 28.

More: doctor strange, Gay, george takei, LGBT, marvel, tilda swinton

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