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'Hannibal' Star Defends Show Against Racism and Sexism Accusations

March 27, 2014, 5:05 am GMT

Hettienne Park, whose character is an Asian and Jewish, thinks the show's writing and casting are 'petty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine.'



It's not unusual that fans express grief following a TV character's death, but "Hannibal" viewers have taken the death of Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) differently. People are upset after the only Asian character on the show was killed off in "Takiawase" that aired on March 21, accusing showrunner Bryan Fuller of being sexist and racist.

Park later defended the show in a blog posted on Tuesday, March 25. Disagreeing with others' opinion that Fuller was being sexist and racist, she wrote, "Fuller cast me in a role that I didn't think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz." Noting that not only her character was Asian, but also Jewish, she added, "Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine writing and casting in my opinion."

She also debunked fans' theory that female characters are disposed of to advance plot and create "manpain," insisting that the show's focus is "two dudes, so that's where the focus will be and will likely remain." She, however, speculated, "My guess is that now that their relationship has been well established, there will be opportunity to further develop female characters. One can hope."

Park went on revealing that Fuller wanted Katz to stick around longer. "Even though Bryan crafted Katz's death from the get-go for the sake of storytelling -- not to gleefully off a minority female -- he wanted me to stay on for longer," she shared. "But we're not the only ones who have a say about that."

The actress, however, understood people's reactions. "When you feel marginalized by the world at large, there's great comfort and empowerment in seeing someone you can identify with on the screen who isn't subject to cliches or stereotypes," she wrote. "When that gets taken away, you can feel like you've been f***ed over once again. And unless you've ever been hurt merely due to the color of your skin, what's between your legs, or who sleeps next to you at night, you probably don't understand that kind of pain."

As for the decision not to show Katz's death on-screen, Park had a strong reason for it. "Believe me, I would've preferred having Katz go down with a fight, but when I brought it up, I was told there was concern around showing Hannibal beating up a woman," she explained, "They were being sensitive not to overdo the violence against women in a story that inherently deals with violence."

Park concluded, "I'd rather focus on the positive stuff. I got to play this amazing woman who didn't have to sleep with anyone (not that I would have minded) or act dumb and girlie or fawn all over some guy or be a conniving b**** to get people to notice or respect me, and she didn't speak broken English or karate chop anyone (not that I would have minded)."

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