‘BoJack Horseman’ creator responds to criticisms of whitewashing

A fan sparked a conversation about casting a white actress to play Diane Nguyen

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.

“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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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