Constance Wu Says Hollywood Execs Got Really Defensive About Her Whitewashing Comments

Source: AP
Source: AP

Constance Wu, the 34-year-old star of ABC's Fresh Off the Boat, has made a name for herself speaking out against racism in Hollywood.

This has made her quite popular in Internet social justice circles of late — but it's also had negative consequences, particularly when she's had to meet with the people she's criticizing face-to-face.

"I've gone into a lot of executives' offices since this stuff has come out," Wu told Vulture in a new interview out this week. "And when I talked about it or when they bring it up, they start white mansplaining why I'm wrong and why I am dumb, and why they're good people."

In other words, executives have been taking Wu's critiques personally. Instead of engaging with her on the institutional aspects of Hollywood's racism problem, they have insisted they are essentially "good guys" caught up in difficult circumstances.

"These studio executives, they're like, 'I'm just a good guy who's trying to feed my family,'" Wu said.

Source: Mic/AP

"Asian erasure is largely based in systemic bias and microaggression," she explained in another part of the interview. "And when you cause a ruckus about someone's choice who had a good intention, the human reaction is to become defensive."

Wu has been especially vocal in recent months about "whitewashing" — the habit filmmakers have of casting white actors in roles intended to be or coded as Asian, as with Scarlett Johansson's role in the upcoming film Ghost in the Shell.

This practice inevitably leads to fewer opportunities for Asian talent, which is reflected in the numbers. From a previous report by Mic:

According to a recent study from University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications, Asian actors got just 6.3% of the named or speaking roles given to nonwhite actors in Hollywood films in 2014. Since nonwhite actors got less than 30% of such roles that year, which means the total percentage of Asian speaking roles was closer to 1%.

Asian-American actors and advocates have fought back against this erasure in a series of social media campaigns, including #WhitewashedOUT, which drew attention to the personal toll whitewashing takes on Asian performers:

And #StarringJohnCho, a campaign from digital strategist William Yu that reimagines popular Hollywood films by replacing their leads performers with Korean-American actor John Cho:

But if Wu's comments are any indication, these efforts may be falling on deaf — or at the very least overly defensive — ears. Read the rest of her interview at Vulture.

Read more:
• #StarringJohnCho Website Just Found the Answer to Hollywood's Diversity Problem
• Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton Got Cast in Asian Roles and People Are Pissed
• #WhitewashedOUT Hashtag Condemns Hollywood Whitewashing of Asian Roles

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Zak Cheney Rice

Zak is a Senior Staff Writer at Mic.

MORE FROM

NFL players donate $20,000 to youth football team that was punished for national anthem protest

"We wanted to make sure that we sent those kids the message that it's OK to stand up for what you believe in," Malcolm Jenkins said.

10 things you might have recently missed in the movement for social justice

From Charleena Lyles and Nabra Hassanen to acquittals and vigils, the last few days haven't been easy to keep up with.

Judge declares mistrial in retrial of officer who fatally shot Samuel DuBose

The jury spent five days deliberating Ray Tensing's fate.

University of Missouri to revoke Bill Cosby's honorary degree

The president of Mizzou said Cosby's actions were not in line with the university's core beliefs.

The Movement for Black Lives responds to recent claims of a fractured coalition

"We make no assumptions that everyone and everything within our movement is perfect — far from it," organizers said.

White Americans more likely to own guns, blacks more likely know someone who has been shot: study

New research reveals startling stats about the relationship African-Americans have with guns.

NFL players donate $20,000 to youth football team that was punished for national anthem protest

"We wanted to make sure that we sent those kids the message that it's OK to stand up for what you believe in," Malcolm Jenkins said.

10 things you might have recently missed in the movement for social justice

From Charleena Lyles and Nabra Hassanen to acquittals and vigils, the last few days haven't been easy to keep up with.

Judge declares mistrial in retrial of officer who fatally shot Samuel DuBose

The jury spent five days deliberating Ray Tensing's fate.

University of Missouri to revoke Bill Cosby's honorary degree

The president of Mizzou said Cosby's actions were not in line with the university's core beliefs.

The Movement for Black Lives responds to recent claims of a fractured coalition

"We make no assumptions that everyone and everything within our movement is perfect — far from it," organizers said.

White Americans more likely to own guns, blacks more likely know someone who has been shot: study

New research reveals startling stats about the relationship African-Americans have with guns.