BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has responded to resurfaced concerns of whitewashing on the show.
The showrunner quote-tweeted a user who had asked why the character Diane Nguyen was voiced by a white woman, as Alison Brie has played the character since 2014.
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“This is something I am happy to talk about!” Bob-Waksberg began. “I can tense up when asked about my mistakes (because I’m worried I’ll say the wrong thing) but it’s good for me to reflect on them and I hope others seeing me do so will help them not make the same mistakes.”
The showrunner explained he had avoided questions about casting over the first few seasons, eventually giving an interview to Uproxx about the matter after season four.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do an interview instead of writing something myself is I knew a journalist would hold me accountable in ways I wouldn’t necessarily do on my own,” Bob-Waksberg explained.
A later tweet specified how the nuances of Diane’s character might have failed. “Even in the small ways we wrote to Diane’s experience as a woman of colour, or more specifically an Asian woman, we rarely got specific enough to think about what it meant to be SPECIFICALLY VIETNAMESE-AMERICAN and that was a huge (racist!) error on my part.
“The intention behind the character is I wanted to write AWAY from stereotypes and create an Asian American character who wasn’t defined solely by her race. But I went too far in the other direction. We are all defined SOMEWHAT by our race! Of course we are! It is part of us!”
Bob-Waksberg went on to confirm: “We should have hired a Vietnamese writer, and a Vietnamese actress to play Diane – or if not that, changed the character to match who we did hire.”
He ended the thread by thanking those who have criticised him, saying “the appearance of diversity without true diversity behind-the-scenes isn’t real representation; worse, it’s appropriation.”