In light of the recent outrage over the casting of Scarlett Johannson as Major Kusanagi in the remake of the classic Japanese anime, Ghost in the Shell, and Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Marvel’s Doctor Strange(2016), #whitewashedOUT has become the social media platform on which the main concerns of audiences are being expressed, regarding the misrepresentation of ethnic diversity in films. If you’ve missed out on the main points on this discussion or don’t even know what it’s all about, this infographic should be enough to fill you in on the basics of the subject.
Although there seems to be a reluctance among Hollywood executives to directly address this issue, there are a few short comments from filmmakers such as Scott Derrickson who, thus far, is the only director of a recently “whitewashed” film that has bothered to respond to the criticisms of their casting choices. (see infographic.) Lionsgate has also released statements apologizing for the predominantly caucasian cast of Alex Proya’s God of Egypt(2016).
“We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.” – Lionsgate
This method of casting stretches back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, when filmmakers would go so far as to paint the faces of their actors to transform them into whatever ethnicity it was they were going for, instead of just hiring an actor of that race. Considering the political circumstances, this practice is a lot more understandable in 1950s Hollywood with all the racial injustice of the era. We may not be subjected to white actors in “black-face” anymore but we still see white actors being CGIed to look more Asian and 2016 seems like a good time to finally put all that to rest.