Protest the Unethical Casting of "The Last Airbender"
John Lesher, President, Paramount Film Group
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This letter constitutes an official statement by the grassroots movement protesting the discrimination evidenced in the Paramount Pictures production of The Last Airbender. The film is adapted from the popular animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, which was widely advertised by Nickelodeon executives, the shows creators, and director M. Night Shyamalan as set in an Asian fantasy world. The practice of casting Caucasian actors to depict ethnically Asian protagonistswhile Asian American actors are relegated to play antagonists, supporting characters, and background extrasis insensitive, condescending, and woefully outdated.
The Last Airbender is alienating and losing potential audience members. Despite our love for the animated series, the most vocal of us have actively rejected the productions cultural incompetencies through protests and over one hundred letters. Many more fans and members of the general public will passively reject this film by voting with their wallets.
Ethnically Asian characters should never be depicted by Caucasian actors. In this day and age, casting white actors to play Asian characters--even going so far as to "whitewash" the Asian fantasy settingis simply ignorant and unacceptable. These choices have taken the film away from the integrity and dedication to cultural accuracy that fans respected in the animated series, and unless those decisions are reversed, we will reject this movie and do everything in our power to ensure The Last Airbenders financial failure.
As fans of the original television show, we still hold the highest level of respect for the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series and its depiction of an Asian fantasy world. We desperately want to support The Last Airbender film, but we cannot in good conscience support its current incarnation and the generations of Hollywood discrimination it represents.
We, the undersigned, urge Paramount Pictures to delay the filming of The Last Airbender until the production can affirm a commitment to ethical casting practices by recasting the leads with ethnically Asian actors.