the industry

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Star on Why She Changed Her Name: ‘Hollywood Is Racist’

Chloe Bennet. Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

When Chloe Bennet started out in Hollywood, her last name was Wang. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actress, who is Chinese-American, changed it because she thought it would help her book more roles. Unsurprisingly in Hollywood, it worked. Recently, after praising Ed Skrein, the white actor who recently left the Hellboy reboot after learning he was cast to play a character who is Japanese-American in the comic books, Bennet was taken to task by a commenter on Instagram, who asked her why she changed her name to obscure her racial identity. She explained that her decision was an unfortunate one that had everything to do with her circumstances:

“Changing my last name doesn’t change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese… It means I had to pay my rent, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn’t cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable,” Bennet said. “I’m doing everything I can, with the platform I have, to make sure no one has to change their name again, just so they can get work.” Part of Bennet’s effort: an organization she founded called RUN (Represent Us Now), which advocates for Asian-American and Pacific Islander talent.

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