Remy Hii took a jab at the media for persistent errors in the identification of Asian actors, describing these mistakes to be forms of “microaggressions.”
The 33-year-old Malaysian Australian actor made his remarks on the red carpet of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards on Wednesday, which he walked with “Crazy Rich Asians” co-star Chris Pang.
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Who the f*#% are these guys? Thanks so much for letting these two bring some colour back to the @aacta Red Carpet tonight Special thanks to @joshuaheathstylist and @couturemenswear for the threads, @nathankgorman & @headoverheelshair__ for the fresh cuts. Extra special thanks to @vancleefarpels , diamonds really are a man’s best friend. We had a ball. 🕺🏻
“Yes, it’s happened to every Asian performer,” Hii, who was born to a Chinese Malaysian father and an English mother, told HuffPost Australia.
The “Spider-Man: Far From Home” star, who himself has been mistaken for fellow Malaysian Australian actor Jordan Rodrigues, pointed out that he is “really passionate” about the issue, since “the message you’re being told is that you don’t matter.”
“You would be hard pressed to find a person of colour who has not been named or mislabelled through — I mean I want to say at best lazy journalism — but at worst it is kind of a microaggression that [tells people] we don’t deserve to be recognised for our true accomplishments,” he told HuffPost Australia.
“Why is it so hard to do your basic due diligence and your research to get it right the first time? Because the effect is again, you’re telling a whole race of people that you aren’t worth being recognised.”
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Hii also recalled similar incidents on the press tour of “Crazy Rich Asians,” saying that many of the cast members had been misidentified “again and again.”
In January, months after the film’s release, People magazine misidentified Ronny Chieng and his wife, Hannah Pham, as Randall Park and Jae W. Suh, respectively.
The outlet, as well as Vogue, also mistook Tan Kheng Ha for Michelle Yeoh.
— Ronny Chieng (@ronnychieng) January 29, 2019
Hii called out journalists accountable for such mistakes in a Twitter thread at the time:
“To the journalists consistently at fault, I refuse to believe you’ve never mistaken a Bomer for a Cavill, an Adams for a Fisher, a Hemsworth for a Hemsworth and yet it happens ALL the time with PoC — *particularly* Asian performers and it’s always just an ‘honest mistake.’
“@people I’m singling you out because not only do Ronny Chieng and Randall Park, Jae W. Suh and Kheng Hua look NOTHING alike, Michelle Yeoh ISN’T EVEN IN THAT PHOTO. This wasn’t even a case of mistaken identity, you straight up threw a bunch of yellow names up and hoped they’d stick.
“When you fail to recognise our faces, when you consistently misattribute our names as though any Asian performer is interchangeable, you erase our identities and you erase our humanity. You negate our achievements and talents with your ignorance. We’re not going to take it. Do better.”
To the journalists consistently at fault, I refuse to believe you’ve never mistaken a Bomer for a Cavill, an Adams for a Fisher, a Hemsworth for a Hemsworth and yet it happens ALL the time with PoC – *particularly* Asian performers and it’s always just an ‘honest mistake’
— Remy Hii (@RemyHii) January 28, 2019
Feature Images via Getty