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Lee: I've done many cliché Asian roles
04:31 - Source: CNN

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A casting director's insight into casting Asian actors in Hollywood is stirring backlash

Twitter is firing back with a new hashtag to raise awareness

CNN  — 

Social media is not happy about a quote regarding Asian-American actors not being expressive enough.

At the heart of the controversy is a story told by Nancy Wang Yuen, sociologist and author of the book “Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism.”

In the book, published last year, Yuen quoted an unnamed casting director who provided an explanation behind the challenges of casting Asian actors.

“Asians are a challenge to cast because most casting directors feel as though they’re not very expressive,” the casting director said. “They’re very shut down in their emotions.”

The quote showed up in an article published last week by Paste magazine pegged to the lack of choice roles for Asian actors in Hollywood.

The article also cited Yuen’s claim that the casting director expounded on the difficulties of casting Asian actors beyond stereotypical roles.

“If it’s a look thing for business where they come in they’re at a computer or if they’re like a scientist or something like that, they’ll do that; but if it’s something where they really have to act and get some kind of performance out of, it’s a challenge,” Yeun wrote, quoting the director.

The quote stirred a backlash on Twitter, with some taking the opportunity to show just how expressive Asian-Americans can be. One particular tweet by user @mauxbot has amassed nearly 60,000 likes and 24,000 retweets since she posted her rally cry on September 8, two days after the Paste magazine article was published.

“Can we start #ExpressiveAsians?” @mauxbot tweeted. Since then, the tweets started pouring in.

The discussion comes at a time of increased criticism of Hollywood for “whitewashing” or casting white actors in roles where the characters are another race.

Most recently, actor Ed Skrein withdrew from an upcoming reboot of “Hellboy” after saying his casting would have whitewashed the role.

The character Skrein was to portray, Major Ben Daimio, is “of mixed Asian heritage.”