As the push for inclusion within the entertainment industry continues, Chloe Bennet's statement about changing her Chinese last name is an absolute must-read. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actor bravely called out Hollywood's lack of diversity amid a now-deleted Instagram conversation, according to BuzzFeed. And fans are loving her unapologetic response, which revealed exactly why she switched her surname from Wang to Bennet. Of course, Bennet shouldn't have to explain her decision to anyone, but in doing so, she's sparking an important conversation.
This whole situation came to light after Bennet took to Instagram to commend fellow actor Ed Skrein, who recently took a stand against whitewashing by stepping down from the upcoming Hellboy reboot, where he was slated to portray a character of Asian descent. Showing her support for his decision, Bennet wrote,
"DAMN, that's a man. Thank you @edskrein for standing up against hollywoods continuous insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American community. There is no way this decision came lightly on your part, so thank you for your bravery and genuinely impactful step forward. I hope this inspires other actors/film makers to do the same."
Yet after applauding Skrein, apparently things escalated in the comment section of Bennet's post. According to BuzzFeed, someone jumped in, accusing Bennet of muting her own identity by ditching her traditional Chinese surname. And that's exactly when she shut things down with the perfect response.
In the comment section, Bennet offered a poignant, yet important, perspective on making it in show business. Flat-out calling Hollywood "racist," she wrote,
"Changing my last name doesn't change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese. It means I had to pay my rent, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn't cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable. I'm doing everything I can, with the platform I have, to make sure no one has to change their name again, just so they can get work. So kindly love, f*ck off."
Bennet's caustic clapback offers a sad glimpse into reality that plenty of minority actors face when it comes to navigating Hollywood. But she's also standing up for herself, and doing so to help pave the way for others. And it appears that Skrein may have become somewhat of a catalyst for Bennet's courage in speaking out, as her initial statement called for other actors and filmmakers within the community to similarly take a stand — and that's exactly what she's doing, too.
After screenshots of Bennet's statement spread, Twitter came out in support of the actor and her honesty.
While it's certainly disappointing, yet not entirely surprising, to hear the countless stories of entertainers fighting for inclusion within the industry, it's the brave actions of celebrities like Bennet and Skrein that help make strides toward real change.