Ed Skrein announces departure from ‘Hellboy’ reboot after whitewashing backlash

"Representation of ethnic diversity is important".

Ed Skrein has announced that he is leaving the forthcoming reboot of Hellboy after his initial casting was met with accusations of ‘whitewashing’.

The British actor, who previously appeared in Deadpool, was set to play Major Ben Daimio in the film – a character of Japanese-American heritage.

But he has now announced that he is stepping away from the role after his casting was met with criticism from fans who claimed that it should have been given to an Asian actor.

“I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage”, he wrote on Twitter.

“It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast responsibly.

“Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity.”

A replacement for Skrein is yet to be announced – but his decision has been hailed by both fans and actors.

“Respect to @edskrein for setting the example & reminding us progress requires sacrifice & representation is collective responsibility”, Riz Ahmed wrote on Twitter.

John Boyega added: “Nothing but respect!”