'Licorice Pizza' Draws Criticism for Its 'Racist' Scenes With Fake Asian Accent

The Paul Thomas Anderson-directed film, which is set in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley in the 1970s, stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper among others.

AceShowbiz - "Licorice Pizza" has faced backlash ahead of its release. After people noticed that the movie includes some scenes in which John Michael Higgins speaks in a fake Asian accent, many online users expressed their condemnation on Twitter.

In the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed film, John stars as a white restaurateur that owns an establishment with his Japanese wife. There's a scene in which he spoke to his wife with a fake Asian accent and another scene in which he repeats his blunder with a second Japanese woman.

Reacting to the film, "Culturally Relevant" podcast host David Chen fumed, "Picture this: You're watching LICORICE PIZZA. It's brilliant. Then, early on, a buffoonish character drops an Asian caricature." He added, "The (mostly white) audience laughs. And now, you gotta think about that laughter the rest of the film. Did you picture it? Because it f**king sucks."

Also dragging the coming-of-age movie was screenwriter Karen Maine. She argued in her tweet, "I saw #LicoricePizza over a week ago and it's taken me this long to process it. There's an incredibly racist, seemingly pointless (other than a cheap laugh, which it got at the screening I was at) scene that mocks Asian accents."

"It was beautifully shot and incredibly well-acted by all, esp [Alana Haim] and [Cooper Hoffman]. I thought it was too long and I never really connected enough with the two main characters for a worthy pay off at the end," Karen added in a separate post. "The whole Haim family and Bradley Cooper were my fave parts. But that pointless, racist scene ruined the whole film for me, and more people need to call PT out on it."

"Licorice Pizza" is set in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. The film, which also stars Sean Penn and Tom Waits, debuts in theaters on Friday, November 26.

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