Over the weekend saw Iron Fist actor Finn Jones delete his Twitter account over an argument regarding the diversity of Danny Rand, who is white in the comics and in the TV series.
Finn Jones started to tweet out "representation is important..." when an Asian Twitter used replied, "Are you for real."
The Asian Twitter user was apparently upset that Marvel didn't go the PC route and replace a white character with an Asian one. As the arugment goes, so I guess, since Iron Fist uses martial arts, he should be Asian (however, I am a martial artist myself, should I be Asian, too?).
The ensuing tweets saw Finn Jones reply that he is "for real, etc." with Finn Jones eventually cancelling (temporarily) his Twitter account.
Finn Jones explained to Deadline: “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.”
Finn Jones also released the following statement:
There is a huge benefit to engage and help shape conversations on social media, especially when it comes to giving a voice to social matters. My original intention was to amplify a speech made by Riz Ahmed at the House of Commons. It was a very articulate and important speech on representation that I wholly agreed with. After posting I was inundated by people accusing me of not being allowed to share his voice based on an assumption that our show is going to play into the problems of racial inequality on screen. I engaged politely, diplomatically and attempted to bridge the divide. 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.
I am very proud of the work everyone has done on this series and I’m excited for people to see how we’ve adapted the story. We have gone to great lengths to represent a diverse cast with an intelligent, socially progressive storyline. I hope people can watch the show before making judgments. In times, as divisive as these, we need to stay unified, compassionate and understanding in our differences.
If you happen to be a long-time reader of this web site, you know that I am no fan of the PC replacement of characters, so I have to give credit to Marvel TV for sticking to their guns. I've always argued it's better to create new characters than to replace existing ones.
Albert Ching, who wrote for Comic Book Resources and is Asian-American, offered the following a ways back on a potential Asian-American Iron Fist actor in an opinion piece titled "I don't want an Asian-American Iron Fist":
I am an Asian-American pop culture enthusiast who longs for greater diversity in all respects, and greater representation of my own culture on screen and in comics, where Asian-Americans are often much too difficult to find. It’s a major problem and something I’ve opined passionately about for years, including on this site.
But I don’t want an Asian-American Iron Fist.
Yes, we need more Asian-Americans in live-action superhero fare and pop culture in general. Yes, we need more non-white male lead characters in superhero fare. But making the first Asian lead of a Marvel or DC Comics-based project a character primarily identified for proficiency in martial arts would be a move that could potentially further stereotypes and restrict progress for Asians on screen.
While increased visibility for Asian-Americans is a good thing, the idea that Iron Fist is “the” character to make Asian-American feels like further locking a population into a single perception, where the primary utility of an Asian in action-driven entertainment is to be good at martial arts.
Finn Jones has since reinstated his Twitter account, and the Twitter user has put her tweets in protected mode.
Iron Fist premiers Friday, March 17th on Netflix.