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Simu Liu criticizes claims about him being a 'token' Asian 'thirst trap'

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published May 08, 2023 8:11 pm

Simu Liu, who is known for starring in the Marvel action flick Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, has clapped back against an article that referred to him as a "thirst trap" and a "token" Asian.

The piece in question, titled "We Love Simu Liu, But He’s Not The Only Talented Asian Thirst Trap In Hollywood" was published by American news site Huffpost.

In the article, author Ian Kumamoto found fault with the idea that Liu seemed to be getting "the bulk of Asian male roles in Hollywood," which may appear as a form of "tokenism" or the practice of doing something for the sole reason of avoiding criticism.

This was after Liu was cast in the upcoming fantasy comedy film Barbie, where he plays a variation of Barbie's love interest Ken.

"All we’re saying is, we don’t want a predominantly white Hollywood to gatekeep sexy Asian male representation like it has for decades when there are so many other attractive and talented Asian men who deserve to be seen and appreciated by the general public," wrote Kumamoto, who is of Mexican and Chinese descent.

The article then listed down "other hot East Asian figures who would have been perfect for the role of Ken" such as Manny Jacinto, Ludi Lin, Jackson Wang, Steven Yeun, among others.

Kumamoto's piece did not sit well with Liu, who took to his Facebook account to write a comment under the news outlet's post of the article.

"The trashest take by HuffPost. Also I'm not a 'thirst trap,' I'm a f***ing actor," Liu captioned his post which contains a screenshot of his comment.

"Way to attempt to put us against one another. What 'bulk' of roles are you referring to?" the 34-year-old actor questioned. "Are there movies I’m in that I’m not aware of? Do you really think that there is a quota of 'Asian male roles' that is a zero sum game?"

He went on, "Every thing I have taken post Shang-Chi was not written Asian. We’ve been able to reshape stories to get more representation onscreen. Get your facts straight."

Several social media users took the time to share their thoughts on the subject matter, with some agreeing with him that Asian actors should not be pitted against each other. However, some have also pointed out how Hollywood has a tendency to keep casting the same handful of Asians over and over, which then limits opportunities for other Asian actors.

This isn't the first time that Liu unabashedly spoke up against notions he didn't agree with. Back in November last year, Liu defended Marvel and its actors after Quentin Tarantino said that their films are oversaturated.