Skip to main content

Actor Steps Down From 'Hellboy' Due to Whitewashing Controversy

Just one week after it was announced that British actor Ed Skrein had been cast in a major role in the upcoming reboot of Hellboy, the actor announced he had stepped down from his role due to the "whitewashing" controversy surrounding his casting.

Skrein was set to play Major Ben Daimio, a half-Japanese character from the Hellboy comics who is a member of the the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The decision, announced last Monday, drew criticisms from Twitter users including actress Cindy Chu, voice actress Stephanie Sheh, and CNN writer Jeff Yang. Chu and Sheh used the hashtag #whitewashing in their critiques of the decision, referring to the historic Hollywood practice of casting white actors in Asian roles. Yang noted that Daimio's storylines in the comics were "deeply entwined with his race/ethnicity" and suggested alternate Asian actors to play the role.

"I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage," Skrein posted in the announcement that he was leaving the film on Instagram on Monday. "There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right."

Skrein's decision follows "whitewashing" controversies regarding the casting of white actors in Asian roles in 2016's Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell. Read Skrein's full comments below: