Watch: Whitewashing PSA Tackles ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Controversy
With just weeks left until the live-action “Ghost in the Shell’ film starring Scarlett Johansson in the leading role comes to theaters, a PSA has emerged to address why so many are opposing the project.
Jes Tom and Chewy May, Asian American stand-up comics based in New York, created the two-minute PSA to show how whitewashing in media affects people of color.
In the PSA, a young Asian girl browses through a comic book store in search of a face that looks like her own. None — not Harley Quinn, or Wonder Woman, or any of the other long-loved female superheroes — are Asian. Then she spots “Ghost in the Shell,” which is led by a cyber-human named Major Motoko Kusanagi.
We then see the little girl as a young woman, walking through the streets, and pausing as she sees a movie poster for the live-action film. As her gaze lands on Johansson, we see the little girl once more, disappointed.
“Movies aren’t real, but they affect real people,” the PSA reads, in a message about the importance of representation.
“Whitewashing a superhero character tells little girls of color that they cannot be superheroes, and it hurts,” May told Buzzfeed.
After controversy over the film’s casting erupted via social media, the pic’s director and producer stepped up to defend Johansson’s casting. Since then, prominent Asian Americans in entertainment — including Ming-Na Wen, who currently plays Agent May on ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” — have spoken out against the decision.
Watch the PSA below, and share your comments: