“I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage"

Deadpool star Ed Skrein has resigned from the upcoming Hellboy reboot following a whitewashing controversy.

The Guardian reports that Skrein was due to play Major Ben Daimio – a character that was originally drawn as Asian. The casting decision was regarded as another example of whitewashing.

The 34-year-old British actor wrote in a statement on Instagram and Twitter that he “accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage.”

“There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement and I must do what I feel is right,” he said.

Skrein says that he himself has a “mixed heritage family,” so is fully aware of the representation conversation in the media.

“It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people and to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the arts,” he writes. “I feel it is important to honor and respect that.”

Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin, producers of Hellboy, said in a statement, “Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision.”

“It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material.”

Hellboy executive produver Christa Campbell defended the initial casting decision in a now-deleted tweet, “Someone comes and does a great audition to get the role. Stop projecting your own shit onto us. We are all one. We don’t see colours or race.”

Other films that were recently slammed for ‘whitewashing’ include Death NoteNi’ihauDr Strange and The Great Wall.

The new Hellboy reboot will also star Stranger Things’ David Harbour, Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich. Neil Marshall (The Descent) will direct.