British actor Ed Skrein has left the Hellboy reboot after public outcry that his character and his casting was whitewashing. Skrein was cast as Major Ben Daimio, who in the novel B.P.R.D. is an asian character. The actor has decided to bow out of the role, allowing the production to correct this missed-step out of respect for the character and the outrage over the missed casting.
Skrein posted a well-written statement to his social media accounts laying down exactly why he chose to leave the role:
“It is clear that 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 voice in the Arts.
I feel it is important to honour and respect that. There I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately. Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family.
It is our responsibility to make more decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality.”
Lionsgate released a statement saying they understand the reasons why Skrein’s departure:
“Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision. It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity. And we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material.”