Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Ed Skrein has exited the upcoming reboot of Hellboy citing concerns over his casting due to the character being originally written as Japanese-American in the comic book series.
"Last week it was announced that I would be playing Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy reboot," Skrein wrote on Twitter Monday.
"I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage. There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right," he continued.
"It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts. I feel it is important to honor and respect that. Therefore, I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately," Skrein said.
"Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality."
Skrein is best known for portraying the main villain in Deadpool.
Following the actor's announcement, Hellboy star David Harbour, who will be portraying the superhero, commented on the matter on Twitter writing, "Hey internet. Thank you for your voices. An injustice was done and will be corrected. Many thanks to @edskrein for doing what is right."
Hellboy producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin and studios Lionsgate and Millennium released a statement saying, "Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision. It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material."
The film was the latest project to be caught in a whitewashing controversy following Scarlett Johansson's role in Ghost in the Shell as a character who is Asian in the original source material and the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Dr. Strange, another character who is Asian.