Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality
UPDATE: April 19th, 2011 Taking his twitter critiques a step further, George Takei is now asking his followers to retweet at Warner Bros.!
RT: Hey @wbpictures! I’m with @GeorgeTakei and @cinemablend! Leave the white guys out of it and keep Akira Asian! – George Takei
“Young Asian actors get few opportunities in Hollywood. Warner Bros could’ve helped change this with Akira, but is casting only whites.” –George Takei, April 2nd, 2011
On March 31st, 2011, Asian American actor George Takei began tweeting dismay over the reported “whitewashing” of Warner Bros. adaptation of AKIRA to his 90,000+ twitter followers. On March 22nd, entertainment media outlets reported that all of the actors currently being considered for lead roles in AKIRA are white.
On his verified twitter account, Takei began posting a series of tweets with his thoughts on Akira. If you agree with them, please consider retweeting them to help spread the word. Due to retweets, Takei’s tweets about Akira were prominently displayed on Twitter’s front page on March 31st.
“WB’s live action film AKIRA based on JAPANESE comic casting only WHITE leads. Hey, I ride a mean motorbike! #WhyNotJohnCho” – George Takei
“Live action of anime classic Akira will use white actors. In related news, remake of Roots to star Mel Gibson. #ShameOnWB” – George Takei
“Young Asian actors get few oppys in Hwood. WB could’ve helped change this w/ Akira but is casting only whites. #WhyItMatters” –George Takei
On April 15th, 2011, George Takei also linked to Racebending.com’s Facebook petition, which has now been “signed” by over 11,000 people!
WB thinks it needs white leads to sell Akira. That’s insulting to white audiences and deprives Asian actors of rare oppy. #LoseLose – George Takei
If Toyota owned the Big 3 and hired only Asians execs, that would suck, too. Hey @WBPictures: Stop the Akira whitewashing! – George Takei
Through a coordinated effort by Racebending.com, several Asian American community organizations expressed concerns about AKIRA to Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. Because Asian American actors continue to face casting discrimination in Hollywood, the organizations believe that “casting white actors for Asian lead characters will reinforce a glass ceiling and reduce opportunities for Asian American actors.” [For more information about AKIRA, please check out our Campaign Page and our FAQ about AKIRA.]
Illana Brownstein tweeted Takei to let him know that students praised Takei’s use of twitter to draw attention to whitewashing in her contemporary drama class.
Takei responded: “That is heartening. Perhaps the younger generation will take note and change things for the better!”
We hope so, too!