Ed Skrein has dropped out of Hellboy over complaints that his character Ben Daimio was being whitewashed.
Fans of the long-running comic book series have objected to the casting of former Game of Thrones and Deadpool star Skrein because Daimio, a badass from the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, is an Asian character.
Those complaints reached Skrein, who announced on social media on Monday (August 28) that he’d resigned from Hellboy in hopes of encouraging more diversity among the film’s cast.
He wrote: “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 voice in the Arts.
“I feel it is important to honour and respect that. There I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately. Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family.
“It is our responsibility to make more decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality.”
His decision stands in contrast to the recent Ghost in the Shell, which stuck with Scarlett Johansson playing a traditionally-Asian character despite huge controversy. The film subsequently flopped, both at the box office and with critics.
The Hellboy reboot has previously cast Stranger Things‘ David Harbour in the title role, Ian McShane as the hero’s surrogate father Trevor Bruttenholm and Milla Jovovich as the evil Blood Queen.
Hellboy is being re-envisioned as a franchise by Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall, with the approval of comics creator Mike Mignola.
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