​cameron crowe apologises for whitewashing hawaii with emma stone

The Aloha Director has said sorry for casting the white actress for the role of a part-asian Hawaiian woman.

by Charlotte Gush
04 June 2015, 12:43am

Aloha is the story of a white man finding himself and learning to appreciate nature through interaction with the "exotic" local inhabitants of Hawaii. If this Orientalist premise hadn't set enough eyes rolling, then the casting certainly did. In Aloha, the Hawaiian locals are "reimagined" as predominantly white people, and the part of the main female character, Allison Ng, who is mixed race (Chinese, Hawaiian and Swedish), was given to actress Emma Stone, who is also white.

"Caucasians only make up 30% of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you'd think they made up 99%," the Media Action Network for Asian Americans said in a statement, adding that Aloha, "comes in a long line of films - The Descendants, 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, Pearl Harbor - that uses Hawaii for its exotic backdrop but goes out of its way to exclude the very people who live there. It's an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii."

After criticism from, well, just about everyone who had considered the issue, Director Cameron Crowe has now apologised in a blog post, saying, "I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice." Crowe adds that he has learned "something very inspiring," that, "So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future." Perhaps these future films will do better at the box office than Aloha, which flopped, taking only a quarter of what the film cost to make.


Still from Aloha trailer

Cameron Crowe
emma stone