British Actor Abruptly Quits Superhero Movie Over Racism Row
A British actor has publicly bowed out of an upcoming superhero movie amid claims of whitewashing.
Ed Skrein, whose casting in the Hellboy film was only announced last week, revealed that he was turning down the role of Asian character Major Ben Daimio after considerable backlash.
"I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage," the 34-year-old said in a statement on Twitter.
"There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right.
"It is clear the 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 voices in the Arts.
"Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately."
Skrein, who has also starred in Deadpool, The Transporter Refueled and Game of Thrones, went onto explain that, coming from a family of mixed heritage, he felt responsible for making "moral decisions".
"I am sad to leave Hellboy but if this decision brings closer to that day, it is worth," he continued. "I hope it makes a difference."
The decision to step away from such a high-profile project has been supported by the film's producers, who told The Hollywood Reporter that they "fully support his unselfish decision".
Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton have all come under fire for taking on roles of Asian heritage in recent months, although Skrein is the first white actor to quit a big budget film for that reason.