Bryan Lee O’Malley, the creator of the ‘Scott Pilgrim’ series, has apologised for the lack of diversity in his graphic novels and Edgar Wright’s subsequent movie adaptation 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World'.
Labeling the his own work “so white”, he brandished the ethnic imbalance of the Michael Cera fronted movie “appalling”.
O’Malley, himself half Korean, half French Canadian, addressed the issue in a admittedly ranting response to a fan’s question on Tumblr:
“First: I think it sucks that ‘Scott Pilgrim’ came out so white!” wrote the cartoonist, “I am mixed (white + Korean) and grew up being told that race didn't matter - that race was kinda over.”
"As with many things you're told as a kid, it took me many years to realise that it wasn't really true... It was kinda wishful thinking on the part of my parents, who were in a mixed relationship. I mean, I wish it was true, we all wish it was true, but it's not true.”
“I did grow up in an extremely white environment,” added O’Malley, stating that during his time at high school “White Canadian Culture was like 99% of everything around us.”
He continued: “I guess what I’m saying is, what I knew in the first 20 years of my life was white people and a little bit of Asian people and so that’s what I put in ‘Scott Pilgrim’. I had an unexamined non-attitude towards race and I didn’t think about it until years later.”
“Honestly, when I saw the ‘Scott Pilgrim’ movie it was kind of appalling to see just how white it was — to not even really see myself represented on the screen,” added Bryan, who’s currently working on follow-up series ‘Seconds’. At least in the comic they were just cartoons. You can project yourself into a simple drawing of a person so easily; race seems to matter less (look at the global popularity of manga, where everyone is ostensibly Japanese).
He summarised: “And who knows, maybe if my books had had more POCs (persons of colour) they would have been whitewashed in the movie, or it wouldn’t have ever been made! Hollywood scares me sometimes…”
“I’ve sometimes joked that Scott Pilgrim is my fantasy of being a cute white indie rock boy (which, as an ostracized mixed-race weirdo, was something I occasionally wished for when I was younger). I guess I whitewashed myself out of my own story, and I got what I deserved.”
Is Bryan right to apologise for ‘Scott Pilgrim’? Tell us below.