‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ Star Defends Changing Her Last Name: ‘Hollywood Is Racist’

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It all started with Chloe Bennet praising Ed Skrein for dropping out of “Hellboy.” Then the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” actress was called out for changing her own last name, in what was seen as a hypocritical move. So Bennet — born Chloe Wang — responded by arguing that she did what she felt she had to do to move forward in a racist white-centric industry, and she hopes she’s the last to feel the need to go that route.

First, here’s her post thanking Ed Skrein for standing up against “Hollywood’s continuous insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American community”:

DAMN, that’s a man. Thank you @edskrein for standing up against hollywoods continuous insensitivity and flippant behavior towards the Asian American community. There is no way this decision came lightly on your part, so thank you for your bravery and genuinely impactful step forward. I hope this inspires other actors/film makers to do the same.👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼–Also, dayum cute af AND a pioneer for social injustice?! Fellas, take note. That’s how it’s done.

A post shared by Chloe Bennet (@chloebennet) on Aug 28, 2017 at 11:57pm PDT

And here’s her reply when challenged about changing her own last name:

Love you, @ChloeBennet4. pic.twitter.com/3x6EnYU9Sw

— Audrey Cleo (@audreycleo) August 29, 2017

Bennet, 25, was born in Chicago to a Caucasian mother and a Chinese father. (Her father’s name is Bennet Wang, which is how she ended up taking Bennet as her last name.)

Bennet told the Toronto Star back in 2014 that within days of adopting her new last name, she landed her first big acting gig on “Nashville.”

“I was having trouble booking things with my last name. I think it was hard for people to cast me as an ethnic, as an Asian-American woman. But I still wanted to keep my dad’s name, and I wanted to respect him, so I used his first name.”

She praised “S.H.I.E.L.D.” for having a diverse cast, and allowing her to share screen time with another Asian-American actress, Ming-Na Wen:

“It’s been great to be a part of a show which is groundbreaking in terms of being an American woman and being Asian on television because there’s people who don’t see a lot of that and I’m really proud of it.”

People change their names for all kinds of reasons in Hollywood (and sometimes in other industries, like authors with pen names) and she certainly doesn’t seem ashamed of her Asian heritage. If casting directors really did hesitate just based on the last name Wang, then the problem is with them, not her.

Bennet will return as Daisy Johnson/Quake in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 5, which will premiere in late 2017.

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