Simu Liu slams HuffPost article for calling him a "thirst trap" and "token" Asian actor

May 5 2023, 8:24 pm

Simu Liu went off on HuffPost for a recent divisive article about him.

The Canadian actor took to Facebook on Thursday to respond to an op-ed published by the new site last month titled “We Love Simu Liu, But He’s Not The Only Talented Asian Thirst Trap In Hollywood.”

Written by contributor Ian Kumamoto, the article says “Asian Twitter collectively scratched its head” when it was announced that Liu would star alongside Ryan Gosling as a Ken in Barbie.

“Don’t get us wrong — we love Liu and we’re all for an Asian king thriving,” wrote Kumamoto. “But when a single actor appears to be getting the bulk of Asian male roles in Hollywood, it starts to feel a little less like representation and a lot more like tokenism.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, an example of “tokenism” is an employer hiring a small number of people from a minority group to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a company.

“All we’re saying is, we don’t want a predominantly white Hollywood to gatekeep sexy Asian male representation like it has for decades when there are so many other attractive and talented Asian men who deserve to be seen and appreciated by the general public,” added Kumamoto.

The article then goes on to suggest other “hot Asian” actors who would’ve been fit for the role of Ken like The Good Place‘s Manny Jacinto, Mortal Kombat‘s Ludi Lin, and Beef‘s Steven Yeun.

Liu took offence to the suggestion that he was hired as the “token” Asian actor in the highly anticipated film.

The Shang-Chi star commented on HuffPost’s Facebook post with biting words.

“Way to attempt to pit us against one another. What ‘bulk’ of roles are you referring to? Are there movies I’m in that I’m not aware of? Do you really think that there is a quota of ‘Asian male roles’ that is a zero-sum game?” wrote Liu.

He went on to clarify that every role he’s gotten after Shang-Chi was not written specifically for an Asian actor.

“Everything I have taken post Shang-Chi was not written Asian. We’ve been able to reshape stories to get more representation onscreen. Get your facts straight,” said Liu.

The Mississauga-raised celebrity posted a screenshot of this response on his Facebook page with the caption “The trashiest take by HuffPo. Also, I’m not a ‘thirst trap’ I’m a f**king actor.”

Fans have chimed in in support of Liu.

“That dude said hold up Simu got cast in TWO MOVIES???!!!? Imma need to write a thinkpiece. 🚮,” one person joked in the comments.

“Lol when I saw this a couple weeks ago I was like, ‘wtf you don’t have to bring others down to bring others up,'” added another fan.

Many pointed out that Liu probably won over directors in his audition for Barbie. The actor does have many talents including singing and dancing, which he proved by hosting the Juno Awards twice.

“Maybe his Ken role wasn’t written as Asian, but Simu just did the best out of those who auditioned?” reads one comment.

One person said there’s some merit to Kumamoto’s argument.

“They’re not wrong. We should have more Asian actors AND roles in Hollywood,” they said. “Glad you’re enjoying some success, but perhaps use your success to open the door for others.”

While others think the article missed the mark and should’ve been about the real deep-rooted issue in Hollywood.

😡 The real issue is the lack of roles and stories, not HuffP’s highlander-ish nightmare take of ‘there can be only one’ 🤬” reads one comment.

“Just because you’re seeing more Asian representation doesn’t mean all these roles for Asian people exist,” added another. “Instead of writing an article pitting actors against one another, try writing an article addressing the issue at hand — not enough roles in TV and Film are written for Asian people.”

This isn’t the first big organization Liu has called out.

In March, the actor put some Air Canada staff on blast for being “unpleasant” and “unprofessional.”

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