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Netflix Faces Backlash for Leaving out Asian-American 'Mulan' Actors From Featured Credits

Netflix came under fire last week for leaving the Asian-American lead out of the cast list for Disney's Mulan.

Actress Ming-Na Wen, who played the title character in the 1998 Disney princess classic, ignited the outcry on social media on New Year's Day. She pointed out that both she and B.D. Wong, the actor who voiced Shang, were missing from Netflix's home page listing for Mulan. Instead, the streaming service was advertising the movie with more secondary characters, including Yao (Harvey Fierstein), Grandmother Fa (June Foray) and Shan-Yu (Miguel Ferrer).

This seemed odd, not least of all because other, more marketable stars were in the movie and could have taken top billing, such as Eddie Murphy and George Takei. Netflix typically lists two or three cast members to entice viewers, but Netflix did not seem to be basing its placement on the stars of the movie or the biggest celebrity names.

Radio producer Dave Sanchez raised a question about the billing on New Year's Eve, which caught Wen's attention. He tweeted a photo of Netflix's interface on his TV, circling the cast list.

"Finally saw #Mulan and loved it!" he wrote. "The only problem I had with it is @MingNa WAS NOT LISTED ON THE CAST!! THIS MUST BE FIXED NOW @Netflix!"

"Yeah, that's EFF-ed up, @Netflix!" Wen added, retweeting Sanchez's post. "I believe another AsianAm lead voice should also be on the credit. #BDWong how about all the #Mulan fans out there tweet @netflix about this major oversight? Thanks!"

In less than 24 hours, Netflix had fixed the issue. The site responded to Wen's tweet, thanking her and Sanchez and tagging Wong in the process.

"Thank you and [Sanchez] so much for pointing this out to us!! It's now been fixed," the tweet read, with a heart emoji. "You and @BD_WONG are legends!"

Giving credit where credit was due, Wen thanked the company for the "quick response and fix."

"Appreciate your attention. -Mulan," Wen joked with a kissing-face emoji. "Thank you to all the fans of #Mulan and my Mingalings for your tweets & RTs. You all rock! Happy New Year!"

As for how Wen and Wong were missed from in the credits in the first place, that remains a mystery. The movies IMDb page shows a slightly scrambled cast list, with the singing voices listed above the voice actors themselves.

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The short-lived controversy was a timely one, as Disney is working on a live-action reboot of Mulan at the moment. The movie comes from director Niki Caro, and features a predominantely Asian and Asian-American cast. Action movie legend Jet Li will take on a supporting role, while Lie Yifei will play the title character. The movie began filming in August in parts of New Zealand and China.

The live-action Mulan adaptation is expected in theaters on March 27, 2020.