Netflix is facing backlash after it failed to hire an Asian actor for its upcoming To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before sequel.
The film, officially announced to be in the works back in December and acting as a follow-up to the Lana Condor and Noah Centineo-starring film, is set to be helmed by Michael Fimognari, who acted as director of photography on the first film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
News that the streaming service had failed to take a more inclusive approach to the film, whose predecessor marked the first mainstream teen romance to feature an Asian-American lead, left many on social media angry.
“The sequel to #ToAllTheBoysIveLovedBefore will have a white man direct a film about Asian American girls,” one person slammed the streamer. “Why couldn't they get an #Asian woman or just an #AsianAmerican (or diaspora) director in general for it? I'm tired.”
“Wow, good. Question,” another wrote. “As an actor it makes me cringe to imagine a middle aged white dude being on set day after day having the creative power to direct young Asian-American women on how to reach an emotional performance to portray a story that is so far from his lived experience.”
“Oh come on! After everything people have been saying about representation on and behind the camera they go and do this?” another fan criticized the decision, recalling past controversy that surrounded the first film. “Lara Jean and her fans deserve better.”
Following the August debut of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, both Netflix and those working behind the camera faced criticism for the lack of representation in Lara Jean’s love interests, which were all white men.
“I understand the frustration and I share that frustration of wanting to see more Asian-American men in media,” To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before author Jenny Han addressed the criticism in a statement to IndieWire at the time. “For this, all I can say is this is the story that I wrote.”0comments
“For me, I just want to support people in telling the stories that they want to tell, and I would hope that with this movie and Crazy Rich Asians, that if it does well, then we’ll get more,” she continued. “More means more representation, more viewpoints, more stories, and I want to see that. I think also, as I continue on and get more clout, I’m committed to that as well. So I do understand the animus behind [the criticism], and I do want to see that happen for people. I think it’s important to just keep pushing for more and to get the doors to open wider.”
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is currently available for streaming on Netflix. The sequel does not yet have a premiere date.