Speaking out. Actress Chloe Bennet has revealed the reason she changed her last name while living in Hollywood and trying to book roles — and it’s because she was judged for her race.
The Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. starlet, 25, explained that she wasn’t getting jobs with her former name, Chloe Wang.
“Changing my last name doesn’t change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese,” she wrote in since-deleted response to a fan on Instagram. “It means I had to pay my rent, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn’t cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable.”
Her comment came on the heels of the news that actor Ed Skrein stepped down from his role in the upcoming movie Hellboy after there was backlash over “whitewashing” a character of Asian descent. (He was set to play Major Ben Daimio, who is Japanese-American in the original comic books.)
“It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts,” Skrein said in a statement. “I feel it is important to honor and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately.”
Bennet took to Instagram to praise Skrein’s decision, writing, “DAMN, that’s a man. Thank you @edskrein for standing up against hollywoods continuous insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American community. There is no way this decision came lightly on your part, so thank you for your bravery and genuinely impactful step forward. I hope this inspires other actors/film makers to do the same.??????–Also, dayum cute af AND a pioneer for social injustice?! Fellas, take note. That’s how it’s done.”
This isn’t the first time the Nashville actress has spoken out about racism she’s experienced in casting.
“Oh, the first audition I went on after I changed my name, I got booked,” Bennet told The Daily Beast in April 2016. “So that’s a pretty clear little snippet of how Hollywood works.”
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