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#StarringJohnCho Tackles Whitewashing With Photoshopped Posters of the ‘Harold & Kumar’ Star

#StarringJohnCho Tackles Whitewashing With Photoshopped Posters of the 'Harold & Kumar' Star

Hollywood’s whitewashing debate continues with #StarringJohnCho, a Twitter campaign featuring movie posters photoshopped to include John Cho in several high-profile films. You can now see the “Harold & Kumar” star adorned on the marketing materials for everything from “Spectre” and “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” to “Me Before You” and “Mother’s Day.” Though funny at first, the point is serious: William Yu, who created the @StarringJohnCho account, told The Hollywood Reporter that “The goal was to spark discussion and get people to question [themselves]. If you’re laughing at John Cho as James Bond, why does that seem so outrageous?”

READ MORE: Hollywood’s Asian Whitewashing: Why It Happens So Often, And Why It Must Be Stopped

The trending topic follows on the heels of Margaret Cho’s similar #whitewashedOUT discussion last week. Both are in response to Hollywood’s lack of prominent roles for Asians and Asian-Americans in general and casting decisions for “Ghost in the Shell” and “Doctor Strange” in particular. Scarlett Johansson was cast in the former as a formerly Japanese character, Tilda Swinton in the latter as what used to be a Tibetan.

READ MORE: Why Hollywood Is Slow to Anoint Multicultural Movie Stars

The decision to highlight Cho specifically was no accident, says Yu. “John — or Mr. Cho — has been critically praised, so as an actor he does carry that presence that a leading man needs.” The actor himself has taken notice, tweeting a heart emoji at @StarringJohnCho. Time will tell whether Hollywood’s decision-makers are paying attention as well.

To see the new Celtic Ancient One, watch the “Doctor Strange” trailer:

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The only whitewashing debate is occurring in the pages of Penske media outlets. There’s nothing outrageous about this except the sad fact that you would promote this guy for free


It’s always been disappointing that Hong Kong legend, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai has never been able to find a Hollywood film to do. He’s interested, he has enthusiastic admirers in Hollywood, he got a Hollywood agent, but none of the roles offered was ever worth the trouble. An iconic actor of his ability, and fine reputation should be able to snag a well-written, three-dimensional role in Hollywood. Mads Mikkelsen, Marion Cotilliard, Christoph Waltz, among others had no trouble finding rich complicated roles to play when they transitioned from the film industry in their own countries. What is it that makes Tony Leung Chiu-Wai any different? Only that he’s Asian. The campaign with John Cho is warranted.


John Cho is not Asian.


John Cho was born in South Korea to South Korean parents. South Korea is a sovereign state of East Asia. John Cho is Asian.

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