Shadow and Bone faces backlash over ‘brownface’ controversy

Main actor’s stunt double seemingly wore makeup to darken skin

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Friday 07 May 2021 10:33
Shadow and Bone trailer

Shadow and Bone has come under fire after photos which appear to show a stunt double in brownface surfaced online.

Netflix‘s new hit series, based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels, launched last month to positive reviews, with praise being heaped on the diversity of the cast.

However, photos being shared online by viewers reveal that the stunt double of Nepal-born British actor Amita Suman, who plays the Wraith Inej Ghafa, is white – and that she seemingly wore brownface in the show.

In the photos, the Hungarian stunt double Vellai Krisztina can be seen smiling alongside Suman, both ready for a scene, but a second photo shows Krisztina’s white neck underneath what appears to be tan makeup covering her face and body.

Krisztina’s headshot, which has also been shared online, reveals that she is white.

The original post, which sparked outcry among some of the show’s viewers, read: “Not them hiring a white stunt double for Amita and painting her brown.”

Many fans have since expressed their shock on social media.

“Hey @netflix @HIGHzurrer whats this about you hiring a white stunt double for amita, a BROWN woman?? & not a single person working on the show thought that was weird or f***ed up?? shame on you.”

Another viewer wrote: “How do you preach diversity but then go and find a white woman, paint her face to appear brown/”

One fan wrote: “No matter what the situation, doing brownface is 100 per cent intentional and no amount of context can make this better.”

The adaptation of Shadow and Bone, which follows a teenage orphan who harnesses a power to save her childhood best friend, was devised by showrunner Eric Heisserer.

It stars Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes and Zoë Wanamaker.

The Independent has contacted Netflix for comment.

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