‘Barbie’ star Simu Liu slams claim that he’s a ‘token’ Asian ‘thirst trap’
You can’t put “Barbie” star Simu Liu in a box.
The Chinese-Canadian actor, 34, has ripped HuffPost over a controversial April article labeling him a “thirst trap” and a “token” Asian.
“Way to attempt to put us against one another,” Liu, who was born in Harbin, China, but grew up in Ontario, fumed under HuffPo’s Facebook repost of the piece.
“We Love Simu Liu, But He’s Not The Only Talented Asian Thirst Trap In Hollywood” criticizes his casting as Ken alongside Ryan Gosling in Greta Gerwig’s upcoming “Barbie” movie.
Author Ian Kumamoto — who is of Hispanic and Asian descent — argued that “Asian Twitter collectively scratched its head when Simu Liu was named as one of many actors” playing a version of the iconic polymer heartthrob.
“Don’t get us wrong — we love Liu, and we’re all for an Asian king thriving,” Kumamoto wrote. “But when a single actor appears to be getting the bulk of Asian male roles in Hollywood, it starts to feel a little less like representation and a lot more like tokenism.”
He also included a list of other “hot” actors of Eastern extraction who he’d tap for the part instead.
Possible substitutes were “The Good Place’s” Manny Jacinto, “Mortal Kombat’s” Ludi Lin, and Steven Yeun, star of the critically-acclaimed Asian-centered Netflix series “Beef.”
Needless to say, Liu had serious “beef” with the piece, which he felt unfairly pitted Asian actors against each another.
“What ‘bulk’ of roles are you referring to?” the “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star sputtered. “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 added, “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.”
The Post reached out to Liu and Kumamoto for comment.
Liu also shared the article on his own page with the caption: “The trashest take by HuffPo. Also I’m not a ‘thirst trap’ I’m a f–king actor.”
Commenters overwhelmingly sided with him.
“That dude said hold up Simu got cast in TWO MOVIES???!!!? Imma need to write a thinkpiece,” exclaimed one incensed fan.
Liu replied, “Yes I wish I could like this a thousand times.”
Another supporter wrote, “I love when they pretend to be progressive by s–ting on a person of color…Also, if you have haters, you’re making an impact… so congrats???”
“It was clickbait. Such a good reply Simu,” declared a third.
Others wondered why the writer was going after Liu and not highlighting the scarcity of roles for Asian-Americans in Hollywood.
“The real issue is the lack of roles and stories, not HuffP’s highlander-ish nightmare take of ‘there can be only one,’” one person argued.