Some fans of Netflix’s reality show “The Circle” are accusing one of its contestants of being racist toward Season 4’s lone Asian American player.
Viewers have highlighted a particular segment from the season’s 11th episode in which each player is tasked to create a portrait of someone else. During the segment, 36-year-old Eversen Bevelle painted 26-year-old fellow contestant Yu Ling Wu.
On Reddit, a post titled “I found Eversen’s portrait of Yu Ling to be racist and upsetting” has social media users criticizing Bevelle’s depiction of Wu.
“The slanted eyes, the big teeth, and claws for hands reminded me of racial depictions of Asians in the older days,” Reddit user u/rystriction noted. “However, I couldn’t pinpoint specific examples right away, but when I googled around for older Asian propaganda, I found a few and posted one side by side next to Eversen’s drawing.”
“It’s one thing to call someone out for being a snake or backstabbing, but I think he went too far in his evil Asian monster portrayal of hers,” the user added.
During the episode, other players show their surprise at the painting, including Yu herself. “This is not nice at all,” she says. “This is so mean.”
Meanwhile, reactions on Reddit and Twitter were mixed.
“It wasn’t racist, IMO,” a Reddit user said. “I could see why OP and others would think so, but that’s their opinion and this is mine. Now, if her skin color had been the same as the corn, I might feel different.”
“My first gut reaction to this was it seemed racist. But the more I stare at it, I honestly think this is just a bad painting,” another Reddit user said.
“@CircleNetflix i did not enjoy seeing Eversen’s depiction of @styuling as an evil Asian monster which looked not unlike old, racist Asian propaganda,” a Twitter user wrote. “Hopefully one day, Asians can be portrayed equally and nicely in media too. #TheCircleNetflix”
“These people ganging up on Yu Ling is giving very racist vibes,” another Twitter user wrote.
Bevelle later explained in the episode that the painting was a “strategic move” because he needed to create a “sense of doubt about our influencer.”
In an Instagram post on May 19, Wu seemingly expressed support for Bevelle’s portrait.
“I ate up the @thecirclenetflix chat but @reverend_dr_e ? He ate that portrait right UP baby!!! my pals have never laughed so goddamn hard in their lives!!” she wrote in the post’s caption.