AAMPLIFY Roundup: Ed Skrein, a Vietnamese mother's dying wish, and Uber's new CEO
Every week, AAMPLIFY brings you the week in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander news.
Ed Skrein removes himself from Hellboy role
Last week, Ed Skrein was cast in the new Hellboy film, but in a role meant for an actor of Japanese American heritage. This week, however, Skrein removed himself from the role, citing in a tweet that he did not want to obscure the culture of ethnic minorities. That move, a rare instance of a white actor distancing himself from whitewashing, has won acclaim from Asian American groups and leaders.
One of those applauding Skrein's move was Chloe Bennet, an actress of mixed Chinese and Caucasian heritage now starring in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Responding to a tweet claiming she had less credibility to speak out, due to her changing her last name, Bennet said moves like that are just indicative of how racist Hollywood casting continues to be; indeed, changing names to suit public perception has been common even in non-Asian communities, with Jewish creators Stan Lee and Woody Allen being prominent examples.
Vietnamese mother granted last-minute visa to visit dying daughter
In July, Trinh Phan, a 33-year-old Vietnamese American woman living in San Jose, CA, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and acute respiratory distress syndrome, which makes breathing almost impossible. With doctors telling her she only had months to live, Phan's final wish was to see her mother, Nguyen Thi Hoa.
However, Hoa, who lives in Vietnam, had her request for a visa denied by the United States Embassy & Consulate in Vietnam, because officials feared Hoa would remain in the States after arriving.
Phan's family started an online petition, and reached out to California's 19th district representative Zoe Lofgren's office for assistance. Early Wednesday morning, the embassy granted a temporary visa for Hoa to visit her daughter, who she had not seen since 2012.
Iranian American made Uber CEO
Uber has chosen its new CEO. Longtime Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, an Iranian American, will replace Travis Kalanick, the outspoken former Uber CEO ousted earlier this summer.
Khosrowshahi led significant expansion at Expedia, acquiring multiple competitors and becoming one of the highest-paid and highest-rated CEOs in the country, according to Glassdoor. However, Khosrowshahi is just one of many Iranian Americans in Silicon Valley, reports Techcrunch.
Says venture capitalist Pejman Nozad, Iranian Americans like Khosrowshahi and the Fields Medal-winning Maryam Mirzakhani succeed due to a wide Iranian American network, and a work ethic fueled by being first-generation immigrants.
“Most of us started our lives in America with next to nothing — at ground zero,” says Nozad. “But America never judged me based on my country of origin or my language or my heritage or my religion. I’ve been given every single opportunity, and I’m forever grateful for it.”
David Tang dies at 63
David Tang, the founder of Chinese-inspired clothing, accessory and home furniture chain Shanghai Tang, died this Tuesday in London at age 63. The grandson of Kowloon Motor Bus Company founder Tang Shiu Kin, David Tang was the founder of multiple Hong Kong companies, including the Pacific Cigar Company, the China Club dining organization, and high-end English restaurants.
High-end goods defined Tang's entrepreneurial interests. Tang was the first to import Cuba's Habanos cigars into Hong Kong, and Shanghai Tang was founded with a focus on 1920's- and 1930's-era Chinese glamor. In his lifetime of luxury goods success, Tang cultivated friendships with Russell Crowe, Sarah Ferguson, and Kate Moss.
In his last years, Tang was an outspoken critic of Beijing and an advocate for Hong Kong independence. According to his friends and family, Tang passed away as he lived: working even on his deathbed.
Migrant workers face late wages at Trump gold course in Dubai
Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese migrant workers at the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai have complained about late wages from Damac, the company that the Trump Organization partners with to hire employees for its club.
Making $200 to $400 a month, the migrant workers say the wages come weeks or months late. Reports the New York Times, the workers "struggle to cover debts amassed in paying recruitment agents for their jobs," and "confront physical hardships and violations of their rights under local labor laws."
In response to these allegations, the Trump Organization deflected the inquiries, stating the company was not the owner or developer of the club, nor did it hire the migrant workers.
"Trump [Organization] has a zero tolerance policy" for late wages, the company said in a statement.
What to check out this weekend
Want to kick off the weekend by catching up on AANHPI content? These highlights should have you covered.