#MakeMulanRight rises on social media
Some angry that Asian role could be played by white man
Petition signed by 12,000
Disney’s upcoming 2018 live-action retelling of Mulan, the traditional Chinese story of a young girl who takes her father’s place in war to save him, is being hit with criticism on social media after a speculative screenplay was leaked online.
The information, posted anonymously on the website Angry Asian Man, revealed that the new Disney movie would not focus on Mulan’s own journey to protect her family. Instead, the proposed remake of the studio’s hit animation movie would feature a white male European sailor who saved the young heroine and conquered her heart.
Criticism went viral after American actor Joel de la Fuente, known for his role in The Happening, supported the allegations in a Twitter post.
Mulan fans used the hashtag #MakeMulanRight to complain about how the possible script would whitewash Asian culture.
The term ‘whitewash’ is sometimes used to describe the tendency in which Western culture appropriates minority cultures around it.
Complaints also centered on how a prominent male lead would take the focus away from China’s legendary female warrior.
Petition for Asian writer
A petition to urge Disney away from the possible script was started by the website 18MR, which is dedicated to representing Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
At present, around 12,000 people have signed the petition which demands that an Asian American writer is included in the 2018 Mulan script writing team.
Digital campaigner at 18MR, Oanh-Nhi Nguyen, told CNN the most problematic issue behind the leaked story is that it hints that traditional Asian stories cannot stand on their own without being whitewashed.
“When our stories are never told by and for us, we become mere stereotypes and that harm us,” said Nguyen. “It is a systemic issue in media diversity that requires change. We need meaningful representation on screen, in writing rooms, and in executive leadership.”
The group told CNN that it is not enough of Disney to hire an all Asian cast if none of the writers on the team are Asian or Asian American.
A source from Disney told Vanity Fair that the leaked script was only an initial version of the project but the social media debate continues.
Actor Harry Shum Jr, known for his role on Fox’s comedy-drama Glee, is amongst those supporting the hashtag.
CNN has reached out to Disney for comment.