Ben Baller Thinks ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is Going to Set Asians Back ’40 Years,’ Sparks Debate

Legendary jeweler/actor Ben Baller has some fiery statements about the upcoming film “Crazy Rich Asians”.

The outspoken Korean American entrepreneur, who has made a successful career in designing creative jewelry for famous celebrities, sparked discussion on social media for his criticisms of the movie.

“The movie “Crazy Rich Asians” is about to set Asians back 40 legit years,” Baller says as quoted by Asians Never Die and Ricefeed after he uploaded the sentiments to his Instagram Stories.

“I’ve traveled to literally every country in Asia except Burma and Laos and never encountered any Asian that corny. I hope people don’t watch that movie and assume that’s how all of us are.”

Some netizens agreed to some of the points Baller raised, noting that the movie allegedly misrepresents actual Asians.

Instagram user Briannguyxn writes, “I actually agree with @benballer, Y’all need to just stop bashing him and think logically. What do you relate more to, A movie about an Asian prince who happens to fall in love with another Asian or a show like Fresh Off the Boat?….”

Serenisword “The people at my school saw the trailer and came up to me and started asking me dumb questions about that kinda stuff. Like, wtf? We are not like that. Happy for Asians in Hollywood, angry that people started seeing Asians this way ( where I live anyway )”

Nora.benarieb: “I hope people aren’t dumb enough to take this movie seriously when they watch it lmao”

There are also those who are still appreciative of the movie while admitting that there were issues with how the movie portrays Asians.  

Not.your.barista: “Idk I kinda agree… I was personally hoping that the first full Asian cast movie would have a more interesting and meaningful storyline than a bunch of super-rich people doing rich people stuff. It just doesn’t seem that…significant. And tbh I kinda cringe every time I hear the title. However, I’m still grateful and excited for the fact that this is a full Asian cast movie. I am happy about that. I like the representation part of the movie, just not the story.”

@Ice_chris_pietreats: “I think it might be good just for the sheer exposure to prove that Asians can be on tv too without having to augment appearance (hair dye etc.), but as for stereotyping I feel like it’ll be bad. As an Asian-American, I do experience Asian values in the household, but my family is very westernized as well. Might not be the most accurate depiction but I feel like it’s better than nothing.”

Some netizens defended the movie, pointing out that critics may just be putting too much weight on issues and might be missing the fact that it is, at its core, just a Rom-Com film that happens to have an all Asian cast.

Mkbnguyen “I like it. Constantly I hear the whining of diversity. Finally, we get a predominantly Asian movie and you all shit on it… Choose one: diversity or exclusion.”

Kevinjnguyen_ “I think calling it a setback is a tad much…let’s not discredit the fact that this film is the first major motion picture showcasing an all Asian ensemble in 25 years. Sure the movie has its problems, but is it a setback? Absolutely not. It’s a movie that will hopefully allow more diverse all Asian casts and nuanced narratives are spotlighted in the future. Also, Asians and Asian Americans are multifaceted. Some can be “corny” and some aren’t. Just because you personally aren’t and the people you’ve encountered aren’t, doesn’t mean they’re not out there.”

Tess_cao “Please don’t pressure a rom-com/chick flicks movie to carry so big a statement. Firstly, the movie was an adaption of a trilogy “Crazy Rich Asians”, a satirical work of fiction. In my opinion, it wasn’t meant to be a book inspiring immigrants and Asians worldwide – but more like give people who choose to read them a good time, and the pleasure of imagining a world of filthy-rich Asians live their best and most glamorous lives – basically a KUWTK – Asian version with really good footnotes. Secondly, how many movies with budgets that have an all-Asian (okay, half, third- Asians) cast like this? Why don’t you just sit back and enjoy another chick flicks about the rich, but this time was played by some of the most outstanding Asian actors and actresses? The books and the movie that based on them were made to give us a good time, with the best intentions from all those who involved. Why can you guys embrace Black Panthers, but not Crazy Rich Asians? Why can’t Asians have filthy-rich socialites? (and trust me, it is real that people can be this crazy rich). They are rich, doesn’t mean they don’t have issues – read the books. Come on guys, Asians are more than just immigrants or boat people now: we are bigger and so much more than this. Don’t let an entertaining movie divide us, just because it didn’t portrait the hardship, discrimination, and racism. I love being an Asian, and I love that Asian people are the most hard-working and have the highest fighting spirit and endurance level than most.”

Baller followed the comments and decided to reply to some of them:

“Selling out? I have employed over 1500 Asians. I’ve made over 15 Asians millionaires. I’ve always backed my culture 100% and I’m very proud of my heritage. But I grew up hip hop before it was mainstream. I don’t look at color so hard. I’ve bridged gaps from the Far East to the US in music and more.

“You gathered this from a 12 year MySpace pic that was me fooling around? How about put on for your people then talk to me. I’ve donated well over 7 million dollars publicly through my non profit to Koreans and Latinos and blacks in the Washington state area and California for under privileged kids. I said what I said. Tell me what you’ve done to further us. I’ll wait.

“Again. I’ve broken down walls for my people. I was the first Asian in my universities history to play basketball and football. I’m 45 and proud of my participation in the Asian community.”

“Crazy Rich Asians,” which is based on the 2013 bestselling novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, will be out on the big screen on August 17.

Feature image via Instagram / benballer

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