Marvel: We're Not Yellowfacing 'Doctor Strange,' We're Just Whitewashing It

The controversy surrounding the Ancient One continues.

Image via Marvel Entertainment

Just days after Doctor Strange co-writer C. Robert Cargill essentially blamed the ongoing Tilda Swintoncontroversy on China's box office dollars, Marvel has issued a statement defending their Ancient One casting decision. The statement, originally obtained byMashable, points to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's dedication to diversity while also revealing some new information on this incarnation of the character.

"Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life," a spokesperson told Mashable. "The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic." Marvel added that the entire team is stoked to welcome the "enormously talented" Swinton to the film's cast, a cast they describe as "richly diverse."

In an interview with Double Toasted last week, Cargill broke down why he felt bringing Ancient One to the big screen was an obvious lose-lose scenario no matter what. "[Ancient One] originates from Tibet, so if you acknowledge that Tibet's place and that he's Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that's bullshit," Cargill said of Marvel's conundrum, likening it to the (Trekkie alert) equally unwinnable Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek. According to Cargill, pushing forward with the exact opposite plan (i.e. casting "a Chinese actress to play a Tibetan character") would be just as detrimental to the film's global audience.

The problem here, of course, is much deeper than a single role in the latest Marvel blockbuster. From Emma Stone to Scarlett Johansson, recent Hollywood casting decisions have highlighted an unfortunate pattern that's somehow still going strong in 2016. The fix, however, is quite simple: Just stop doing it.

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