From the moment Donald Trump said he would block Muslims from entering the U.S. to the moment the U.S. president’s (initial) refusal to denounce white nationalists after the Charlottesville rally-turned-violence, Hollywood has been screaming until foaming at the mouth about Trump’s racism. Hollywood has forgotten there were 3 fingers pointing back at them, when they pointed 1 finger at Trump.
Turns out, Hollywood is equally racist, without them realizing it until one of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D agents exposed their dirty secret. Who can forget the sexy, beautiful and powerful Agent Daisy “Skye” Johnson, an inhuman hacktivist who possesses the ability to sense vibrations and create earthquakes? Daisy’s role is played by Chloe Bennet, but she was forced to change her name because Hollywood is racist.
Chloe Bennet was born Chloe Wang on April 18, 1992 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Her father – Bennet Wang – is Han Chinese, while her mother – Stephanie Lynn Crane – is Caucasian-American. At 15, she moved to China to pursue a singing career, under the name Chloe Wang (汪可盈). While in China, Bennet lived with her paternal grandmother in Beijing, and studied Mandarin.
Ms. Bennet reveals how she was forced to change her surname because “Hollywood is racist” and producers “wouldn’t cast her with a last name that made them uncomfortable”. She then decided to change her surname to try her luck. Surprisingly, within days of doing so, Chloe Bennet successfully landed her first big acting role on TV series Nashville.
According to 25-year-old Bennet, using her father’s first name rather than his last name avoids difficulties being cast as an ethnic Asian-American while respecting her father – “I think it was hard for people to cast me as an ethnic, as an Asian American woman. I still wanted to keep my dad’s name, and I wanted to respect him, so I used his first name.”
Trading Wang for Bennet, Chloe said – “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.”
Apparently, Chloe Bennet made the revelation on Instagram while replying to a fan’s comment who asked why she had changed her name. She said – “Changing my last name doesn’t change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin (Putonghua), or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese.”
And she spoke of her past dark experience with racist Hollywood when she took to Instagram praising British actor Ed Skrein, who has stepped down from his role in “Hellboy” after his casting prompted claims of whitewashing. Skrein was cast in “Hellboy” as Major Ben Daimio, who is of Asian heritage in the comics that inspired the film.
Skrein said he had initially accepted the role “unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage,” but once he discovered that, he “decided to step down.” He said – “It is clear that representing this character in culturally accurate way holds significance for people … I feel it is important to honour and respect that.”
But Chloe Wang isn’t the first celebrity to have whitened their name in the pursuit of fame. There is a long queue of entertainers adopting anglicised public personas. Sir Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji. Like Chloe Wang, as soon as Mr. Krishna (famous for playing 1982 film “Gandhi”) changed his name in the 1960s, he got the jobs in Hollywood.
Karl Penn who was born Kalpen Suresh Modi, becomes one of the most famous Indian-American actors in the world after changing his name. He is known for his role portraying Lawrence Kutner on the television program “House”, and even joined the Obama administration as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement in April 2009.
Other celebrities who also subjected to Hollywood racism include Charlie Sheen (was born Carlos Irwin Estévez), George Michael (was born Georgios Panayiotou) and Bruno Mars who was born Peter Gene Hernandez. Even Jewish celebrities were not spared – Allen Stewart Konigsberg became Woody Allen and Lawrence Harvey Zeigler became Larry King.
Sure, not every celebrity who adopts a whiter name did so because they couldn’t put food on the table. Some changed their name for the sake of simplicity. For example, Ralph Lifshitz became Ralph Lauren and *poof* – the polo shirts sell like hot cakes. However, the fact remains that it’s “more marketable” if the celebrity wannabes possess a name that sounds like white people – and that’s part of racism, no?
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