Earlier today on Twitter, comedian Margaret Cho expressed disappointment over the upcoming Absolutely Fabulous movie’s decision to cast a white actress Janette Tough as a male Japanese fashion designer named “Huki Muki.”
The movie features original AbFab stars Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders. Cho called out Dawn French directly, French (maybe best known from The Vicar of Dibley) was part of a comedy duo with Sanders and the television series emerged from a sketch French and Saunders performed regularly on their 1990s BBC show.
This isn’t the first time that Cho has criticized the casting decision. Earlier this month, she tweeted, “Yellowface is racism. Sorry. It’s unacceptable. Not now. I was thrilled about #abfabmovie but now I just can’t be. I’m very disappointed.”
Neither AbFab producers nor the BBC have responded to Cho’s criticisms, but in an earlier interview, Tough—who’s best known as part of the very British 80s comedy duo, The Krankies—said she was delighted to be in the movie. “It’s exciting when you are sixty-eight and asked to be in a movie and Lulu is in it as well and Kim Kardashian,” she said.
As The Mary Sue points out, Hollywood has a long history of yellowface, from Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Jim Sturgess in Cloud Atlas and, of course, Emma Stone in Aloha, and the joke was never particularly funny. “It’s hard enough to get into film and TV as a person of color - and when roles written for us are played by white actors - it’s an outrage,” Cho tweeted.
Image via AP.