Ed Skrein, an actor known for playing supporting roles in "Game of Thrones" and Deadpool, has stepped down from playing Major Ben Daimio in the reboot of Hellboy. Although Daimio appeared as a Japanese-American character in the original comic, Skrein was cast in the role in the film reboot despite being a white Englishman himself. The actor stated that he had decided to step down in deference to those concerned that the film was whitewashing the comic. “I hope it makes a difference,” wrote Skrein.
The fact that roles, such as that of Daimio, are being given to white actors and actresses in the first place, is indicative of a systemic problem that cannot be fixed by a single actor stepping down. Nonetheless, it sets an important precedent and may force other white actors and actresses to directly address whitewashing. Amid criticisms of recent movies like Gods of Egypt and Ghost in the Shell for casting white actors in roles meant to portray characters of color, it is necessary for Skrein’s white colleagues across the entertainment industry to follow his lead and reject or step down from roles that are meant to convey minority voices.