Seth Rogen Apologizes After Backlash over Child Actor in Blackface

Executive producer/director Seth Rogen participates in the "Future Man" panel during the Hulu Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Actor and producer Seth Rogen apologized Thursday for putting a child actor in blackface in his forthcoming film Good Boys.

“I should start by saying this shouldn’t have happened, and I’m terribly sorry it did. I won’t give excuses for why it happened,” Rogan said in a statement. “I’ll just say that as soon I was made aware of it, I ensured we put an end to it – and I give my word that on any project my team and I are involved in, we will take every precaution to make sure something similar does not take place again. I’m engaging in conversations to make sure I find the best way to do that. It’s on me to be proactive. Reacting isn’t enough.”

Rogen was met with blowback after a photograph emerged of a stand-in for 11-year-old actor Keith Williams on the set of Good Boys in Vancouver, Canada, wearing make-up to darken his complexion.

The movie’s producers received an official complaint after the controversial photo of Williams’ stand-in was made public, according to TMZ. It is “not uncommon for lighting purposes to match actors’ skin tones,” various cinematographers revealed to IndieWire. Both Williams and his stand-in are African-American.

One cinematographer said its industry practice to cast individuals with a “similar complexion and physical stature,” to the actors or actresses they are hired to be a stand-in for. “In regards to makeup, I’ve seen wigs used and powder to take down shine, but maybe not as extreme as what is being suggested here,” the cinematographer told IndieWire. “I personally would never ask for someone to be made up in a darker tone. You would just compensate for what you understand to be lighter or darker while lighting.”

Good Boy, scheduled for release in 2019, co-star Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon and Molly Gordon. Co-directed by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, the film is about a 12-year-old boy ditching school to fix a broken toy.

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