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Daredevil actor accuses former head of Marvel TV of anti-Asian statements

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Jul 27, 2020, 3:44 PM EDT

A former star of Netflix's Daredevil series has accused Jeph Loeb, an acclaimed comics writer and former head of Marvel TV in the era of the company's Netflix universe, of making anti-Asian comments and allegedly mandating that the show's writers cut storylines for Asian characters short. 

Peter Shinkoda, who played high-ranking Hand member Nobu on Daredevil, made the comments during a livestream event hosted by the #SaveDaredevil campaign over the weekend. Speaking alongside fellow former Daredevil stars Geoffrey Cantor and Tommy Walker, Shinkoda began his remarks by talking about his own work on the Nobu character. He mentioned doing research in the character's comic book background, and even concocting his own version of the character's backstory to help explain his motives and emotions. Then he noted that, at one point, there were plans for a storyline that would have dug deeper into Nobu's motivations and his relationship with Madame Gao. 

At that point, Shinkoda paused, noted he was "reluctant to say" what he was about to elaborate on, and then added "I'm not into really protecting certain things any more" before accusing Loeb directly of cutting off the writers' plans for his character.

“Jeph Loeb told the writers room not to write for Nobu and Gao — and this was reiterated many times by many of the writers and showrunners — that [he said] ‘Nobody cares about Chinese people and Asian people. There were three previous Marvel movies, a trilogy called Blade that was made where Wesley Snipes kills 200 Asians each movie. Nobody gives a s*** so don’t write about Nobu and Gao,'” Shinkoda said. “And they were forced to put their storyline down and drop it.'”

He continued, "I have [been] privy to that storyline, because they explained it to me and they were very apologetic that they couldn’t follow through with it, but their hands were tied. It was a very interesting storyline about having to go there under the guise of some kind of a transplant, and it was medical reasons, and a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy was fudged so that Nobu could get into the country and then carry out his Black Sky plans. But all that backstory was dropped, and the writers told me that they regret it and they were reluctant to do it because they were so stoked about including that in the storyline, but they were prevented."

You can hear Shinkoda's comments, including his response to a follow-up about how the story might be handled today, beginning at about 9:30 in the video above. After the livestream on Saturday, Shinkoda added to his allegations against Marvel TV, claiming on Twitter that he and actress Wai Ching Ho, who played Gao, were not invited to the season 2 premiere of Daredevil, and only found out it was happening when the event was livestreamed.

Loeb, a longtime film and TV writer and producer as well as a comic book writer, took over Marvel's budding television division in 2010, and over the course of nearly a decade he oversaw the creation of shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Runaways, as well as the launch of Marvel's Netflix universe, which included Daredevil, Jessica JonesLuke Cage, Iron Fist, and Defenders.

Iron Fist was plagued by controversy from the beginning after a public outcry over the show's refusal to cast an Asian-American actor in a reimagined version of the leading role, and Loeb himself drew criticism after appearing at a Comic-Con panel to promote the show while wearing a karate costume, complete with headband. Loeb exited Marvel TV in the fall of 2019 as the division was folded in under the leadership of Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige.

Marvel TV is now moving into a new phase of projects that more closely align with the film side, starting with an A-list slate on Disney+ that includes projects like Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Wandavision, Hawkeye and more. Unlike the previous TV series, these are expected to influence and directly tie into the film side of the MCU.

We have reached out to Marvel for comment and will update this story if we receive a response.

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