Janette Krankie In Racism Storm Over 'Yellowface' Role In Ab Fab Movie

The diminutive Janette Krankie could be riding into a rather substantial storm over her role in the new ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ movie.

68-year-old Krankie, real name Janette Tough, best known for being Wee Jimmy Krankie on TV through the 80s, plays a male Japanese fashion designer called Huki Muki in the forthcoming big screen reboot of the BBC comedy series.


However, the role, created by Jennifer Saunders for the movie, has been called racist.

Leading US comedian Margaret Cho, who is Korean American and has starred in shows like 'Sex and the City’ and '30 Rock’, is among those who have taken offence at Krankie’s character.

‘I am f****** sick of yellowface,” she spat in a vitriolic online post.


“Have some respect. Hire Asian actors for Asian roles. I’m disgusted. Yellowface is racism. Sorry. It’s unacceptable. Not now. I was thrilled about [the] Ab Fab movie, but now I just can’t be. I’m very disappointed.

“When roles written for us are played by white actors - it’s an outrage. We’ve tried to shame racism out of existence but I guess some people really don’t care. They’re shameless but NOT BLAMELESS.”

Many who follow Cho on Twitter – well over 400,000 in all – agreed with her.

One wrote 'Massively disappointed about this too’, while another added 'Not Ab Fab?! That’s disappointing’.

Krankie was snapped filming in the movie in London last month.

She said: “I can’t believe it’s taken me nearly to the age of 70 to land my first film role. But it’ll be no problem appearing on screen as a man, as I’ve spent a whole lifetime playing a schoolboy.”


The movie, which finds Saunders reprising her role as Eddy Monsoon and Joanna Lumley as Patsy Stone, is due out on July 1, 2016.

It also stars Julia Sawalha playing Saffy Monsoon, Jane Horrocks as Bubble, Kathy Burke as Magda and Celia Imrie as Claudia Bing.

Celeb cameos are rumoured to come from Kate Moss, Emma Bunton, Lily Cole, Cara Delevingne, Harry Styles and Kim Kardashian.

According to reports, the plot goes like this:

“Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forevermore.”

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Image credit: FameFlynetUK/TV Guide/Fox Searchlight