VIDEO – ‘Avatar The Last Airbender’ Movie Controversy – Yellowface Outrage!!! – Critics Want a Boycott !

‘Avatar, The Last Airbender’ is opening on July 2nd but instead of anticipating the movie debut, many people are calling for a boycott of the film and crying it’s another case of Yellowface in US history!

According to Michael Le, many fans of the original ‘Avatar’ on Nickelodeon’s cartoon series feel that ‘ Avatar ‘ is about an Asian inspired world where Aang and his fellow Tribe members use their elemental powers as the last chance for peace after a century of war. Aang and his comrades being Asian inspired characters.

However, the cast is all but Asian and Le had this to say about the process,

“To take this incredibly loved children’s series, and really distort not only the ethnicity of the individual characters but the message of acceptance and cultural diversity that the original series advocated, is a huge blow,” Le has started a fan site, to boycott the film.

Gene Luan Yang, creator pf the National Book Award-nominated graphic novel “American Born Chinese.” had this to say on his website.

“To be clear, I don’t believe that director M. Night Shyamalan and the other creators of Paramount Pictures’ The Last Airbender movie are motivated by intentional racism. They probably just want to make the most entertaining (and profitable) summer blockbuster they can, the best way they know how. But intentionally or not, they are adding another chapter to Hollywood’s long, sordid history of Yellowface. By giving white actors roles that are so obviously Asian – and by stating from the get-go their preference for Caucasians – they tell Asian-Americans that who we are and how we look make us inherently inadequate for American audiences, even in a movie that celebrates our culture.”

Also, according to, the writers of the series even described ‘Avatar the Last Airbender’ as taking place in “an ancient, fantastical Asian environment, primarily Chinese.”

I guess Paramount’s interpretation of that descriptions is slightly off. They issued a statement claiming that “Night’s vision of ‘The Last Airbender’ includes a large and ethnically diverse cast that represents cultures from around the world,”

Right, Paramount, that is exactly what the original writers envisioned! I was also expecting a largely Asian cast to portray the characters on film and I was very shocked and disappointed that there were almost no Asians.

I think Avatar definitely lost out this time because of the weird casting and that’s such a blow because the cartoon series was very good. You decide if there is some truth to this controversy. Here are two clips…one is the original cartoon and the other is the film preview. And tell me… am I wrong?…


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© Shadie Barican – 2010

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