Akira Yoshida, the Japanese writer of “Thor: Son of Asgard,” “X-Men/Fantastic Four,” “X-Men: Age of Apocalypse” and “Wolverine: Soultaker,” was one of the Marvel’s most prolific writers in the early 2000s.
Unfortunately, Yoshida did not actually exist. His identity was merely an invention of C.B. Cebulski, a White man who violated Marvel’s ethics policy so he could get writing work while still holding an editor position. When Cebulski publicly admitted the ruse following his promotion as the company’s new editor-in-chief (EIC) in November, he was rightfully criticized for cultural appropriation and use of yellowface.
I’m sorry but what @CBCebulski did was bad. He is white and He pretended to be a Japanese writer to get work at his publisher in violation of the rules. Other POC pitched those books and didn’t get the work. Sorry dude you fucked up and you should resign.
— DC Women Kicking Ass (@dcwomenkicknass) November 30, 2017
After his revelation, Cebulski seemed to remain unaccountable for his actions, with Marvel choosing to keep mum on the issue. The fake Asian retained his new post as the EIC for the popular comic book publisher and stayed silent in subsequent few weeks as backlash mounted on social media.
In an interview with The Atlantic published on Sunday, the non-Japanese White man addressed his critics with what appears to be a self-promoting, blame-deflecting, non-apology:
“I’m truly sorry for the pain, anger, and disappointment I caused over my poor choice of pseudonym. That was never my intention. Throughout my career in anime, manga, and comics, I’ve made it a point to listen and learn from my mistakes, which is exactly what I’ve been trying to do with this misstep.
“Building honest relationships with creators has always been important to me, and I’ve continued to do that in my new position. I’ve spoken with talent close to this issue, and have had candid and productive conversations about how we can improve the industry and build better stories, while being mindful of the voices behind them.
“My passion has always been about bringing the best talent from across the world to work on the best stories in the world, and I’m hopeful that fans and creators alike will join us in that continued mission.”
In his statement, Mr. EIC reduces his faults to a mere “poor choice of pseudonym” while refusing to acknowledge the gravity of what he did some 12 years ago. Has he not yet realized how pretending to be a person of color and then writing stories using a pretentious perspective from that culture warrants some owning up and responsibility?
During his fakery, Cebulski even shamelessly presented a completely made-up backstory as Akira Yoshida in interviews, claiming to have grown up in Japan and the U.S., and worked for a Tokyo-based publisher. His deception was more than just using a pseudonym, it was a con that stole jobs which should have been awarded to other writers.
For some inexplicable reason, however, he remains as Marvel’s editor-in-chief.
I talked with CBC’s Q about the “Akira Yoshida” controversy, how Marvel’s CB Cebulski went from awkwardly exploiting diversity to championing it, and why we can’t just sweep it under the rug when allies do creepy things https://t.co/9Nj3r4bkXU
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) December 6, 2017