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Chris Pang Says Media Outlet Mistaking Him For Simu Liu 'Trivialises Hard-Won Progress' For Asian Actors

Charlie's Angels actor Chris was misidentified as Simu in a review for the new film.
Actors Chris Pang (L) and Simu Liu (R) have spoken out after a media publication mixed them up.
Actors Chris Pang (L) and Simu Liu (R) have spoken out after a media publication mixed them up.

Charlie’s Angels star Chris Pang says a media publication mixing him up with Kim’s Convenience actor Simu Liu “trivialises hard-won progress” for Asian actors in the industry.

The Australian actor, whose parents are of Chinese and Taiwanese descent, said Asian representation in Hollywood has improved, however it’s scenarios like this that take away from that.

“The exposure we are finally receiving is progress towards normalising the image of groups that we represent – and repeated mistakes like this, while unintentional, are still emblematic of the systemic disrespect we face,” Chris told HuffPost Australia on Friday. “It trivialises hard won progress.”

Simu Liu, who is set to star in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, called out CNET on Thursday for referencing him in an article about the new Charlie’s Angels film instead of Crazy Rich Asians actor Chris.

“Hey @CNET, either you got the wrong Asian or I’m misreading the sentence and you’re actually referring to @pangerz as MY Australian thug. If it is the latter... carry on,” he wrote on Twitter.

Chris had also replied to Simu’s Twitter thread, writing, ”@SimuLiu’s misogynistic Australian thug here - sup? What’d I miss?”

Simu was referring to a Charlie’s Angels review published by the website, in which a paragraph described Kristen Stewart’s character, Sabina Wilson, and Chris Pang’s villainous character, Jonny Smith.

“From the outset, Stewart’s Sabina tackles the previous films’ baggage when it comes to women being exploited for their sexuality. Wearing a wavy blond wig and tight dress, she discusses female independence and how being underestimated is an advantage in the spy profession, before flipping Simu Liu’s misogynistic Australian thug onto his head,” it read.

The publication responded to Simu’s tweet and rectified the error, tweeting, “Thanks for the catch! Our review has now been updated. (Also, we can’t wait to see you in Shang-Chi)”.

Earlier this year People magazine was slammed for misidentifying several stars from Crazy Rich Asians.

The publication initially identified Ronny Chieng and his wife, Hannah Pham, as Randall Park and Jae W. Suh, both of whom were not in Crazy Rich Asians at all. People also mistook Tan Kheng Hua as Michelle Yeoh, who was not in the picture.

Meanwhile Chris recently opened up about his Charlie’s Angels character, saying it is far from the ‘Asian villain’ that Hollywood has portrayed in the past.

“Firstly I wasn’t supposed to be Australian,” the 34-year-old told HuffPost Australia. “The original role was for a 40-year-old Russian so they changed it up a fair bit once I came in.

“I was supposed to come in with maybe a bit of an Asian accent and speaking Chinese,” he said, explaining that after the production team “heard the Australian accent, they just loved it so much that we completely changed the character to be Australian”.

“Obviously I’ve done some action films, I’ve played a bad guy with an Asian accent before and so we wanted to change it up.”

Chris Pang in a scene from Charlie's Angels.
Chris Pang in a scene from Charlie's Angels.
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