Agents of SHIELD star says “racist” Hollywood was the reason she changed her Chinese name
“They wouldn’t cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable.”
Agents of SHIELD star Chloe Bennet has criticised “racist” Hollywood and said that she was forced to change her Chinese surname so that she could find work.
The actress’ comments come after Ed Skrein commendably withdrew from the Hellboyreboot.
Skrein had been cast as Ben Daimio, a character who is Japanese-American in the comic source material. The casting was yet another instance of whitewashing, but Skrein stepped down saying that “representation of ethnic diversity is important” in an honourable statement.
Bennet was one of many who praised Skrein’s decision, sharing his statement on Instagram. But she received some negative comments from those who accused her of being a hypocrite.
Bennet was born Chloe Wang and used that name early in her career, before changing her surname – and she responded to one commenter that she was forced to change her name because she was getting fewer opportunities as Wang.
“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,” she said.
“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 added to the commenter: “I’m doing everything I can, with the platform I have, to make sure no-one has to change their name again, just so they can get work. So kindly love, f**k off.”
It’s not the first time Bennet has spoken about changing her name, either.
Last year, she told Daily Beast: “Oh, the first audition I went on after I changed my name, I got booked. So that’s a pretty clear little snippet of how Hollywood works.”
Numerous Asian stars have supported Skrein’s decision since he quit the role of Ben Daimio, including Bennet’s SHIELD co-star Ming-Na Wen, Daniel Dae Kim (who recently departed from Hawaii Five-0 as a result of pay inequality with his white co-stars), Jessica Henwick, John Cho, Michele Selene Ang, Lee Shorten, Linda Park, Ian Anthony Dale, and Peter Shinkoda.
The producers for Hellboy also released a statement, saying: “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.”