Cameron Crowe Apologizes for Aloha‘s Whitewashing, Promises Greater Representation in the Future

"I am the one to blame."

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Following intense scrutiny of Aloha‘s whitewashing and cultural appropriation, director Cameron Crowe has posted an essay on his personal website apologizing for casting Emma Stone as the Asian-American character Allison Ng:

Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng. I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice. As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.

Whether that story point felt hurtful or humorous has been, of course, the topic of much discussion. However I am so proud that in the same movie, we employed many Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian and Pacific-Islanders, both before and behind the camera… including Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele, and his village, and many other locals who worked closely in our crew and with our script to help ensure authenticity.

We were extremely proud to present the island, the locals and the film community with many jobs for over four months. Emma Stone was chief among those who did tireless research, and if any part of her fine characterization has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame.

If anything about Crowe’s apology sits strangely with me, it’s his apparent confusion over why audiences are upset with the film’s overall representation of race; his essay seems to imply that viewers are offended by seeing a white-passing biracial character depicted on screen, but it was his choice to not cast an actual biracial actor in that role, and to do so in the film’s larger offensive context, that has caused the movie to be so widely criticized. Hawaii is the only state with an Asian majority population. All of Aloha‘s stars are white.

That being said, Crowe didn’t direct this movie in a vacuum (Sony’s leaked emails indicate plenty of concerns over the film’s plot but no mention of the movie’s race problem), and he has promised to commit himself to greater representation in the future:

I am grateful for the dialogue. And from the many voices, loud and small, I have learned something very inspiring. So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.

What do you think, gang?

(via The Hollywood Reporter and Jezebel)

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