“Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu has lambasted an internet scam calling for Asian actors to audition for roles in the upcoming sequels of the 2018 blockbuster film.
The false notice, which arrived in the form of a sketchy press release, reportedly came from a Twitter user named “Alan Baltes,” who claimed to be an actor and a casting associate.
According to the notice, sequels of “Crazy Rich Asians” — supposedly titled “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems,” presuming they follow Kevin Kwan’s trilogy — are looking for Asian actors in their 20s through 40s to take on lead roles.
For a $99 “submission fee” through Google Pay or Venmo, hopefuls can try their luck via “live Zoom auditions,” Baltes added.
Baltes’ Twitter account has since been deactivated. The platform stores deactivated accounts for 30 days before deleting them.
“No no no no this is a scam. We are not holding auditions at all. And we definitely wouldn’t charge $99 for that,” Chu tweeted after being alerted. “Please take this down. Very very FALSE. And evil to pull this scam when people are down right now.”
No no no no this is a scam. We are not holding auditions at all. And we definitely wouldn’t charge $99 for that!! Please take this down. Very very FALSE. And evil to pull this scam when people are down right now. https://t.co/huqnLxssPq
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) April 30, 2020
In a follow-up tweet, a “disgusted” Chu described the scheme as a “malicious scam” and announced that he reported it to Warner Bros.’ legal department.
“Do not listen to @alanbaltes about auditions for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ sequels. It is a malicious scam and frankly disgusting to try and take advantage of people at a time like this. He’s asking people to Venmo him $99 dollars to audition. I’ve sent [this] to Warner Bros.’ legal department to pursue.”
Do not listen to @alanbaltes about auditions for CrazyRichAsian Sequels. It is a malicious scam &frankly disgusting to try and take advantage of people at a time like this. He’s asking people 2Venmo him $99 dollars to audition. I’ve sent to Warner Bro’s legal department to pursue https://t.co/huqnLxssPq
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) April 30, 2020
Sequels of “Crazy Rich Asians” were confirmed soon after it broke records, but Chu and producers are not casting at this moment.
“We’re so far from it. We don’t have a casting director. We have never said, ‘Hey, let’s look at people who are out there.’ We’ve done zero,” the filmmaker told Variety. “We don’t even have a script.”
Chu recalled similar scams in L.A., but he’s especially frustrated that Baltes targeted Asian actors.
“I kept reading it, and when it said ‘99 dollars,’ I was like, ‘This is f—ed up,'” he added.
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Oh what a night. #CrazyRichAsians took home the Best Comedy prize last night at the @criticschoice awards. Our whole table was in genuine shock… and then we celebrated all night long at my house!! We missed our fellow cast and crew mates… this one belongs to all of us. Still feels like a dream. But that could just be the alcohol wearing off. Back to work with so much joy and appreciation in my heart. 🙏🏼❤️
Baltes denied involvement in a statement to Variety.
“Someone sent me the information and was misrepresenting himself as being with casting,” he told the outlet, identifying himself as a talent agent. “The person is no longer in contact with me after I inquired further. They were attempting to get me to send them money for casting calls.”
It’s unclear when exactly the bogus casting call started floating, but NextShark found a screenshot of a Facebook post from Sept. 11, 2018, which shows an Alan Baltes announcing the same news.
According to the post — which included a now-defunct blog link — the sequels are also looking for a Caucasian female between 25-30 and a Caucasian male between 30-40 to take on supporting roles.
Jacobson acknowledged the information, but it’s unclear whether steps had been taken to deal with Baltes.
— nina jacobson (@ninajacobson) September 24, 2018