Well, we can’t all be woke white bros. Finn Jones, the star of Netflix and Marvel’s upcoming superhero production Iron Fist, quit Twitter this weekend after getting into a debate about race and representation with Asyiqin Haron, the creative director of Geeks of Color. The whole thing started when Jones tweeted out Riz Ahmed’s speech to the Parliament about representation with an Upworthy-esque headline: “Representation is important. and here’s why.” The tweet raised eyebrows because Jones didn’t seem to recognize the irony that his upcoming role as Danny Rand in Iron Fist is yet another story of white exceptionalism: White guy goes to Asia, learns a martial art, and is better than the people he learned it from. Hi-ya!
While the character in the comic book is also white, the casting around Iron Fist stirred controversy because it seemed like a missed opportunity to cast an Asian person in the role rather than rehash a tired narrative. (In fact, actor Lewis Tan, who is on the show, has said that he was also up for the part.) Haron, who has previously written about why Iron Fist should be Chinese-American, engaged in a conversation about race and representation with Jones on Twitter. When Jones wrote that the show was “the most diverse” one out of the Marvel-Netflix bunch, she replied, “That’s great and all but you do see why Danny Rand being white is problematic right?”
Jones responded to the first tweet by writing, “yes i am for real. Please don’t make assumptions on our show before you have seen it. The characterization of Danny Rand may have remained true to its source material but our show incorporates and celebrates actors from all different backgrounds. I will go as far to say that it may be one of the most diverse shows out of the three.” [Editor’s note: There are four Netflix Marvel shows.] You can retrace the conversation by taking a look at the screenshots that Haron took of his responses below — this is because Jones deleted his Twitter account soon after this exchange.
Finn Jones released a statement to Deadline saying that he left Twitter because he needed to “stay focused” on filming The Defenders. “I’m currently in the middle of filming and I need to stay focused on bringing to life this character without judgment, so I decided to remove myself from Twitter for the time being,” Jones said. It’s important to recharge your chi!