Actress Chloe Bennet, best known for her starring role on the ABC hit series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., claims she had to change her last name because Hollywood is “racist” toward Asian-American actors.
Bennet, born Chloe Wang, wrote an Instagram post this week praising actor Ed Skrein’s decision to drop his role in the upcoming Hellboy reboot. Skrein had faced whitewashing accusations, as the character he was cast to play was of Asian ancestry in the comic book origin story.
While lauding Skrein, Bennet criticized Hollywood’s “insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American” actors.
“DAMN, that’s a man. Thank you @edskrein for standing up against hollywoods continuous insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American community,” the actress wrote in her post. “There is no way this decision came lightly on your part, so thank you for your bravery and genuinely impactful step forward.”
Bennet said she hopes Skrein’s decision will inspire “other actors and film makers to do the same.”
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DAMN, that's a man. Thank you @edskrein for standing up against hollywoods continuous insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American community. There is no way this decision came lightly on your part, so thank you for your bravery and genuinely impactful step forward. I hope this inspires other actors/film makers to do the same.👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼–Also, dayum cute af AND a pioneer for social injustice?! Fellas, take note. That's how it's done.
In a statement published by Variety, the 25-year-old star said, “Changing my last name doesn’t change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese.”
“It means I had to pay my rent, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn’t cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable,” Bennet said.
Last year, Bennet told the Daily Beast that she began to find acting work immediately after changing her last name.
“Oh, the first audition I went on after I changed my name, I got booked,” Bennet told the outlet. “So that’s a pretty clear little snippet of how Hollywood works.”
Bennet’s comments come as the television industry continues to struggle with what critics call a lack of racial diversity in its programming. Most recently, Asian-American Hawaii Five-0 stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park reportedly left the long-running CBS show over a salary dispute with the network, after the pair were allegedly offered less money than their white co-stars.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson