Game of Thrones and Avengers: Infinity War actor Peter Dinklage is facing outrage after being cast in the upcoming HBO movie My Dinner with Herve. Dinklage will play the lead role of Fantasy Island star Herve Villechaize.

Much like fellow Avengers: Infinity War actor Scarlett Johansson who was cast as Major in the live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, Dinklage is facing cries of whitewashing.

A number of people took to Twitter to criticize the casting of Dinklage as Villechaize because they believe Villechaize was half-Filipino.

The thing is, Herve Villechaize wasn’t half-Filipino or any percentage for that matter. He was, in fact, French, German, and English. So, you have a group of people claiming that Dinklage is applying “yellowface,” when in fact he isn’t.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Peter Dinklage addressed the claims of yellowface against him.

“The internet is the best thing and the worst thing. The funny thing about the backlash is it addresses what we address in the film about not judging a book by its cover. Hervé was judged by how he looked, and cast and perceived to be who he is accordingly. It says [Villechiaze was half-Filipino] on Wikipedia. Family members can’t change information on there. My daughter’s name was “Zelig” on Wikipedia for a long time. Her name is not Zelig. I don’t know who is able to put information up, but there are so many things on there that aren’t true.

There’s this term “whitewashing.” I completely understand that. But Hervé wasn’t Filipino. Dwarfism manifests physically in many different ways. I have a very different type of dwarfism than Hervé had. I’ve met his brother and other members of his family. He was French, and of German and English descent. So it’s strange these people are saying he’s Filipino. They kind of don’t have any information. I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes or sense of justice because I feel the exact same way when there’s some weird racial profile. But these people think they’re doing the right thing politically and morally and it’s actually getting flipped because what they’re doing is judging and assuming what he is ethnically based on his looks alone. He has a very unique face and people have to be very careful about this stuff. This [movie] isn’t Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Personally, I would never do that, and I haven’t done that, because he wasn’t. People are jumping to conclusions based on a man’s appearance alone and that saddens me.”

Dinklage then speculated on how people might have been confused about Villechaize’s ethnicity:

“Maybe people were thinking of The Man with the Golden Gun, which was shot in Southeast Asia, and Fantasy Island, where he’s on an island, and that, compounded with how he looked, made some think he must be from that part of the world. But that’s also part of the mystery and fun of this movie. He was so many things and he was proud of the myth of himself as well. Everybody I met — his brother, his girlfriend, people who worked with him — said he was ‘so proud.’ If [being Filipino] was part of his heritage he would have been very proud of that. Hervé would be laughing at this right now, and part of me is too. But when I start to be accused of things that are not truthful and not real, that’s when you want to say, ‘Okay, calm down.'”

Because of a mix of poor citation on the popular site, and internet outrage mob, and too much free time, a talented actor found himself in the crosshairs of a mob for something he didn’t even do.

Peter Dinklage can be seen as Hervé Villechaize on HBO on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

 

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About The Author

Jorge Arenas
Resident Star Trek Specialist/ Writer

Jorge Arenas is a Governmental Affairs Director working in the Southwest. If Starfleet were real his career would be in a much different place. Currently, he specializes in all things Star Trek. He loves DC but has a soft spot for Deadpool. When not writing you can find him on World of Warcraft. Battle.net, ID-PassStage6#1707

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