British actor Ed Skrein has exited the “Hellboy” reboot following a public outcry over the whitewashing of his character.
In the “B.P.R.D.” graphic novels, Major Ben Daimio is an Asian character, Upon the announcement of the hiring of the very Caucasian Skrein for the role, a minor controversy erupted over the racial change.
Now, Skrein has posted a classy statement Monday on his social media accounts explaining why he dropped out of the project.
“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.”
The controversy follows in the wake of Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton’s casting in “Ghost in the Shell” and “Doctor Strange” respectively with the talk taking over much of the conversation about the film.
Lionsgate has also released a statement in regards to Skrein’s exit:
“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.”
David Harbour, Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich co-star in the film which shoots later this Fall.