Ed Skrien is stepping down from his role as Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy reboot amid some all-too familiar controversy.
Diamio, originally seen in the Hellboy book published by Dark Horse Comics, is of Japanese descent. Skrein — who you may recognize as the O.G. Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones, or baddie Francis Freeman/Ajax from Deadpool — is not.
The erasure and whitewashing of characters of color, particularly Asian ones, in TV and film is a long-standing problem. The most recent example did not go unnoticed:
Ed, this is a bad idea, and I really think you should reconsider. No disrespect to you, but the role should go to a Japanese actor.
— Andrew Wheeler (@Wheeler) August 21, 2017
Disappointed that an Asian actor didn’t get the chance to pay this role. Won’t be seeing this.
— Jared (@MegaTakesATwit) August 22, 2017
After this backlash, Skrein decided to do the right thing.
In a statement via Twitter, he announced on Monday that he would be stepping down from the role so that it “can be cast appropriately.”
It’s pretty rare to see this, and Twitter responded with overwhelming positivity. Comic writers, fellow actors, and fans expressed gratitude and respect for the move.
I don’t ever want to hear that a White actor/actress can’t step away from a Whitewashed role. Ed Skrein just showed y’all how.
— ReBecca Theodore (@FilmFatale_NYC) August 28, 2017
Ed Skrein has set a bar that subsequent Caucasian actors in similar casting situations will be judged by and done so with dignity.
— Dave Probert (@DaveJProbert) August 28, 2017
You’ve got yourself a new fan- I’m sure a bunch!- for this decision!
— Jenny Jaffe (@jennyjaffe) August 28, 2017
You just set the example we’ve needed. Thank you. And I will be watching for your next project.
— Kristen McHugh💗💜💙 (@kristenmchugh22) August 28, 2017
The thing about Ed Skrein stepping away from Hellboy is that it shows that actors can say NO and step away from a role……
— The NYC Film Chick (@TheNYCFilmChick) August 28, 2017
Hopefully more people in Hollywood take this cue. Or better yet, they never have to, because we’ve seen enough examples of these terrible decisions already.