Former Deadpool villain Ed Skrein has dropped out of upcoming #Hellboy reboot after the decision to cast him was met with criticism online. The news comes just days after it was announced he would be joining the cast as Major Ben Daimio, a character identified in the original comics as being of Japanese-American heritage.

Announcement

The actor, who has also appeared in Game of Thrones, took to Twitter to inform fans of his decision to depart from the film.

Reaction

His move was applauded by fans and fellow co-stars who believe this is a step towards abolishing Hollywood's problem of whitewashing and approaching Asian-American actors for similar roles in the future.

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Hellboy's producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin of Lionsgate and Millennium film production companies spoke of their support for his decision to step down in a statement released this week: "Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision. It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material".

A persistent problem

This news, sadly, isn't anything new. Rupert Sanders' Ghost in the Shell was targeted earlier this year for its decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as Major Killian despite the original anime series being Japanese. Fans quickly took to Twitter to condemn the decision and point out that there were many actors of Asian descent that could have done the role justice such as Grace Park and Karen Fukuhara.

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The film flopped as a result of the casting and Johansson eventually agreed that she should not have taken on the controversial role in an interview with Marie Claire magazine: "Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive." Skrein's choice to stand down from the role is something of a first and although it may affect his career in the short run, it will hopefully encourage other actors to do the same if ever placed in the same position. John Boyega, Jessica Chastain and Nicholas Hoult have already sent messages of praise to the star over his decision.

The issue of whitewashing resurfaced again this week when Marvel's Agents of SHIELD actress Chloe Bennet revealed that she changed her name from Chloe Wang because Hollywood is "racist" and that it was preventing her from being cast in certain roles. Discrimination in Hollywood is rife and although it may seem as if the problem of whitewashing is only getting worse, Ed Skrein's departure from Hellboy may just be a start of actors taking a stand against the issue, and rightfully so. #Social media