Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star has reportedly made it clear that he will not be signing any issues of Master of Kung-Fu – the series in which the the hand-to-hand combat master made his debut – during his upcoming appearance at this year’s entry of Awesome Con out of a concern that such comics are “offensive”.
According to CBR, the self-proclaimed ‘Savior of “Aspirational” Asian Representation’ has added a new stipulation to the rider for his June 4th appearance at the upcoming Washington D.C.-based convention declaring “that he will not sign Master of Kung Fu comics or “other comics deemed offensive”.
Though the comic book news outlet did not identify what specific content Liu has taken issue with, given the recent discourse surrounding the classic Marvel series, it’s likely the actor has subscribed to the belief that its depictions such characters as Shang-Chi and Fu Manchu – despite them being portrayed as a hero who rebels against his evil father and a awesomely skilled evil mastermind, respectively – are nothing more than shallow, racist caricatures.
This is far from the first time following his casting as the Deadly Hand that Liu has taken an eye-rollingly performative action to position himself as a properly-socially-conscious ‘champion’ for acceptable Asian representation.
In light of the news that the television series in which he gained attention for, Kim’s Convenience, had been canceled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Liu said he resented the show’s “overwhelmingly white” producers because they did not take input on the script from the actors.
“It was always my understanding that the lead actors were the stewards of character, and would grow to have more creative insight as the show went on,” wrote the actor in a June 2021 Facebook post. “This was not the case on our show, which was doubly confusing because our producers were overwhelmingly white and we were a cast of Asian Canadians who had a plethora of lived experiences to draw from and offer to writers.”
“But we were often told of the next seasons plans mere days before we were set to start shooting…there was deliberately not a lot of leeway given to us,” he additionally accused.
Two months later, Liu took disingenuous issue with comments made by Disney CEO Bob Chapek during the company’s Q3 earnings call, wherein discussion of the decision to release Shang-Chi and Free Guy to Disney Plus after only forty-five days in theaters, the executive opined, “On Shang-Chi, we think it’s actually going to be an interesting experiment for us.”
“Because it’s got only a 45-day window for us,” he added. “So the prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to service after going theatrical with 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles.”
“When we planned Shang-Chi – that title was planned on being [released] in a much more healthy theatrical environment.” he concluded. “And at this point, unfortunately, due to distribution agreements that we have and due to just the practicalities of last-minute changes, it wouldn’t be possible.”
Though Chapek was clearly referring to Shang-Chi’s experimental release schedule, Liu accused that the CEO was using the term in reference to the fact that the film was Asian-centric.
“We are not an experiment,” he tweeted. “We are the underdog; the underestimated,” he continued. “We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year. We are the surprise. I’m fired the f–k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US.”
Further, speaking at the film’s red carpet premiere a few days after this bad faith interpretation of Chapek’s words, Liu boasted that his performance as Shang-Chi would finally give audiences an “aspirational” Asian character to look up to.
“It’s a beautiful and exciting new origin story for this character that a lot of the world hasn’t heard of before,” Liu told Total Film magazine. “And it means that kids growing up today will have what I didn’t, which are characters that are aspirational, that also reflect their lived experience.”
Doubling down on his undeserved declaration of himself as a historical figure in both Asian and modern cinema in general, Liu would assert in a September 2021 Reddt AMA, “In 2012 when I first started out, I thought that maybe if I worked really really hard, I could be a guy that gets beaten up by one of the main characters one day.”
“That was the pinnacle for actors that looked like me,” he bizarrely claimed, ignoring the decades worth of Asian cinema and television stars whose native works became Western fan-favorites. “I’m ashamed to say that I’ve put on the most ridiculous and offensive accents in the past, all because I thought that it was more important to give the casting director what they wanted than to be true to myself.”
He continued, “Over time, as I toiled about in the industry and struggled to find my footing, I started to realize all of the ways the industry discriminated against us… and that we needed to become the masters of our own narrative… because the way that we were being portrayed was not positive or authentic.”
“That’s why representation behind the camera is just as important as in front,” he concluded.
Interestingly, past depictions of characters that fail to meet modern standards of political correctness are not the only thing Liu has chosen to ignore in recent months, as outside of two vague tweets attempting to deflect the subsequent attention given to him, the actor – as well as Disney – has remained silent on a slew of previously comments wherein he penned a self-described “sympathetic post towards pedophiles.”
What do you make of Liu’s refusal to sign any issues of Master of Kung Fu? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!