Actor Simu Liu, who participated in the 2023 NBA All-Star-Ruffles Celebrity Game on Friday night, has expressed disappointment over the event’s celebrity look-a-like segment in which he was compared to a random Asian spectator.
During the segment, a photo of the “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star was shown side-by-side with the fan’s image on the jumbotron at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Such a comparison is deemed offensive and problematic by many in the community, as it perpetuates the harmful stereotype that all Asians look the same.
“I had a great time but this wasn’t cool,” Liu tweeted about the incident.
The actor also clarified how “the entire org and ops team surrounding all-star have been nothing but absolutely stellar to myself and all my friends,” pointing out that the incident was due to “just one person with a camera.” He also expressed “no disrespect” to the featured spectator, noting that “he’s gorgeous” but they just “don’t look alike.”
While some commenters tried to brush the incident aside as being a common occurrence in fan cams, many lamented the incident as a missed opportunity for the NBA to change negative perceptions about Utah when it comes to race-related issues.
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“Does not look like you at all!” one Twitter user wrote. “Man they messed up on this one esp comparing to the other look-alikes. If it’s meant to be a joke, should’ve done the same to the others, but theirs looked pretty accurate. Not all Asians look the same.”
“I hate this. @SimuLiu, from one Asian person to another who has also experienced this kind of stuff in the state of Utah, I really am sorry this happened. Please know the majority of us here DO like you and DONT think you look alike.,” a commenter chimed in.
“Yeah…They need to stop this,” another wrote. “Growing up people said I looked like Lucy Liu when she broke into the silver screen…I look nothing like her…”
In the celebrity game, Liu joined rapper 21 Savage, singer Janelle Monáe, comedian Hasan Minhaj, musician Nicky Jam, tennis star Frances Tiafoe, NFL wide receiver DK Metcalf and WNBA star Arike Ogunbowale on former NBA star Dwyane Wade’s team.
The game concluded with Wade’s team defeating Utah Jazz Governor Ryan Smith’s team with an 81-78 score.