The website Racebending.com who launched a protest campaign accusing Paramount of racial discrimination in M. Night’s “The Last Airbender” is at it again, but this time for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ adaptation of the Japanese anime classic “Akira.”
Their message is clear and to the point: “Don’t Whitewash Akira!” And Asian American actors should have the opportunity to play Asian characters in films adapted from Asia.
An online petition has since been launch of Facebook with this message:
On March 21st, 2011, Deadline.com reported that eight actors have been solicited for the roles of Tetsuo and Kaneda in AKIRA. All of the actors solicited were white. If not in a film called Akira, for characters named Kaneda and Tetsuo, when will Asian Americans get to star in a Warner Bros film?
Please virtually “attend” this petition event to show your support! It will provide us with a headcount so we know how many people feel strongly about this issue.
We would like to present the numbers from this petition to the studio to show them that all media consumers–not just Akira fans and not just Asian Americans–support keeping casting Asian Americans in the lead roles in AKIRA.
For more information or to join the cause, please head on over to the Don’t Whitewash Akira Online Petition.
If you’re still not convinced that this is a form of institutionalized racism by Hollywood, understand that from “2000 to 2009, only 2% films had an Asian first-billed lead.” Meanwhile, you’d think it’d “make just as much sense — if not more sense, given the names ‘Kaneda’ and ‘Tetsuo’ — for the leads to be Asian American as it would for the leads to be white. Tetsuo and Kaneda should be cast with Asian American leads.”
We certainly think so. Signed.