Last week, news surfaced that Ed Skrein would be playing the role of Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy reboot, to the disappointment and anger of many. See, while the character is Japanese American, the actor playing him wasn’t. It was a classic case of Hollywood erasing Asian characters and stories in favor of white actors, something we’ve unfortunately come to expect.
But today, Skrein announced that, due to the backlash, he would actually be stepping down from the role, and said that he hadn’t known about the whitewashing when he first accepted it:
Yep. Ed Skrein did the damn thing. It was a brave and most likely difficult decision to give up the role, and it could negatively impact his career. After all, so many people who have bigger careers have been in his position and either done nothing about it or addressed it pitiably after the fact. Skrein should never have been put in that position to begin with, but it’s cool to see that he did the right thing. Here’s hoping that his effort wasn’t for nothing, that the film actually casts an Asian actor for the Asian role—seriously, Hellboy, ball is in your court!—and that other white people follow Skrein’s lead.