The actor will play Hawaiian native Benehakaka "Ben" Kanahele
Upcoming Hawaiian WWII film Ni’ihau starring Zach McGowan has been slammed for ‘whitewashing’.
As reported by Variety, the film tells the true story of the Ni’ihau Incident, where Benehakaka “Ben” Kanahele rescued Shigenori Nishikaichi, an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service pilot who crashed onto the Hawaii island of Ni’ihau.
When Nishikaichi escaped and teamed up with three local Japanese to terrorise American locals, Kanahele and his wife kill him. Kanahele was shot by Nishikaichi but was later hailed by the US government as a hero for contributing to the prevention of a takeover of the island.
Following the incident, President Franklin D Roosevelt issued an executive order placing thousands of Japanese-Americans in internment camps.
Zach McGowan, who is best known for his roles in television series Shameless as Jody, Black Sails as Charles Vane, and The 100 as Roan, will play Kanahele.
News of the casting has led many to express their outrage on social media, slamming the film for ‘whitewashing’,
Erin Chew writes “I find this whitewashing BS in the mainstream Western media beyond the joke… This time it’s a historical drama and instead of casting the many Polynesian actors as the Hawaiian island leader a white guy Zach McGowan will whitewash the role.. WTF is wrong, it’s like outrage and then repeat.”
— Andrea Boatright (@AKBoatright) May 10, 2017
— Kristy Puchko (@KristyPuchko) May 10, 2017
@Zach_McGowan Who are you fooling you look nothing like Hawaiian. See your whitewashing predecessors and see how they tanked. Your not fooling anyone.
— Maria Arriola (@MariaArriola4) May 10, 2017