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Actor departs Hellboy reboot over concerns of whitewashing

Actor Ed Skrein announced Monday that he would step down from his role in the Hellboy reboot film, after critics objected to his being cast to portray a canonically Asian-American character. Skrein had joined the Hellboy cast last week as Major Ben Daimio, who is Asian in the comic books on which the movie is based.

Skrein acknowledged the "intense conversation and understandable upset" over his casting, saying he was "unaware" Daimio was Asian originally. "I must do what I feel is right," Skrein wrote. "I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately."

Skrein said he sought to "honor and respect" the fact that "representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people." "It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and give voice to inclusivity," he wrote.

In a statement, Lionsgate, the studio behind the film, said they "fully support" Skrein's "unselfish" decision. "We will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material," the company said.

Skrein is best known for playing opposite Ryan Reynolds in last year's Deadpool, where he portrayed the villain Ajax. Read his full statement on departing Hellboy below. Kimberly Alters