Actor Peter Shinkoda, who appeared in Netflix’s Marvel series “Daredevil,” accused former Marvel Television chief Jeph Loeb of telling writers not to give his character major story lines because “nobody cares about Asian people.”
In a virtual appearance answering fans’ questions for a movement poised at reviving the canceled series, Shinkoda, 49, said Loeb’s sentiment was “reiterated many times by other writers and showrunners,” adding that Loeb cited Marvel’s 1990s and early 2000s “Blade” film series, during which “Wesley Snipes kills 200 Asians each movie” and “nobody gives a (expletive).”
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Marvel and Loeb, who left the company last year, for comment.
Shinkoda said the writing team made “me privy to a story that was supposed to go – they had planned for months to write and implement into shooting – but they were prevented.”
“I’m kind of reluctant to say this, but I’m going to take it and I apologize to (fellow co-stars on the call, Tommy Walker and Geoffrey Cantor) that I’m going to take this moment, but I have to, because – because I just have to,” he said. “I’m not really into protecting certain things anymore, but Jeph Loeb told the writers’ room not to write for Nobu and Gao (Wai Ching Ho).”
“The writers told me that they regretted it and they were reluctant to do it, because they were so stoked to include that in the story line, but they were prevented,” he said, adding “they were very apologetic that they couldn’t follow through with it, but their hands were tied.”
Shinkoda’s comments aren’t the first to call out Marvel, owned by Disney. Anthony Mackie, who has played the superhero Falcon seven times, called last month for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to improve diversity behind and in front of the camera.
Mackie, 41, spoke about his Marvel experiences going back to 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” with Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton,” “Snowpiercer”) for Variety’s Actors on Actors issue.
When asked by Diggs how he was interacting with Black Lives Matter, Mackie pointed out that he will be the lead Marvel actor for the first time in the Disney+ TV series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” due in August, just as Diggs is the star of TNT’s “Snowpiercer.”
“We have the power and the ability to ask those questions,” Mackie said. “It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies now where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white.”
He added: “My big push with Marvel, with everybody, is hire the best person for the job. Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men. Fine. I’m cool with those numbers for the next 10 years. Because it starts to build a new generation of people who can put something on their résumé to get them other jobs. If we’ve got to divvy out as a percentage, divvy it out. And that’s something, as leading men, that we can go in and push for and push the envelope.”
Contributing: Bryan Alexander