‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ has become the latest big Hollywood movie to face charges of whitewashing. Earlier this year, critics protested ‘Gods of Egypt’ which featured… well Egyptians, portrayed by mostly Caucasian actors like Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Then there was the American live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime ‘Death-Note’ which also cast mostly white actors. (To be fair, though, this movie was set in America, not Japan.) Most recently, the Scarlett Johansson-fronted adaptation of another anime, ‘Ghost In The Shell’, has taken heat, especially after it was leaked that the studio tinkered with CGI to make non-Asian actors look Asian.
Then, of course, there is the controversy of casting Caucasian actor Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in ‘Doctor Strange’ in order to avoid the Asian stereotypes (and possible political conflicts) embodied by the Tibetan comic book character.
Just days ago, we reported that 14-year-old Caucasian actor Michael Barbieri had been cast as one of Peter Parker’s friends in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’. It was stated that Barbieri’s role was a new character, not someone from the comics. Perhaps they should have stopped the description there.
The anonymous source went on to say:
Barbieri’s character will be a new one, though he’ll be based off the Ultimate Spider-Man character Ganke…His affinity for Superheroes and unwavering optimism and support of his friend are his standout characteristics, which can be expected to be found in Barbieri’s new character.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker. But in 2011, Marvel introduced a new Spider-Man in its ‘Ultimate’ comics line, Miles Morales, who is half-Hispanic, half-black. And Miles has a best friend, Ganke Lee, who is Korean-American. ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is NOT about Miles Morales. And Barbieri is NOT playing Ganke Lee.
That hasn’t stopped people from crying whitewashing again as MANY sources are reporting that Barbieri IS playing Ganke. (Once again, he is NOT.)
Here is a sampling of the outrage on Twitter:
— Michael Kang (@KANGisMAN) June 8, 2016
— Angry Asian Man (@angryasianman) June 7, 2016
— A. Rey Pamatmat (@AReyP) June 7, 2016
Is it founded? It certainly would be, if this were a Miles Morales movie and Barbieri was in fact playing Ganke. But it’s not and he’s not. It’s a Peter Parker movie and Barbieri is playing a new character that isn’t in the comics.
Also, the quote describing the character isn’t official. It didn’t come from Sony or Marvel. It was from a “source,” which may, in fact, be completely correct, but this source may have been talking out of turn. Perhaps director Jon Watts or writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein did look at the character of Ganke and say “We like this guy. We should have a character like this in the movie.” But that probably wasn’t something that the public was supposed to be privy to.
Unfortunately… this source did say it and now it’s out there and now people are pissed.
It should also be pointed out that should they have used Ganke, they (most likely) would have cast an Asian actor. The film’s cast is already pretty diverse including Zendaya (biracial, half-white, half-black), Tony Revolori (Guatemalan American) and Laura Harrier (African American). Why would they purposely whitewash an Asian American character?
But just to clarify: the statement didn’t come from Marvel or Sony; the movie is about Peter Parker, not Miles Morales; and Barbieri is playing a new character, not Ganke Lee.
Are you upset that Hollywood has seemingly whitewashed another role?
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ directed by Jon Watts, starring Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori and hopefully Michael Keaton will hit theaters on July 7, 2017.
Source: Movie Pilot