Amid the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag campaign, the lack of POC nominees at the upcoming 88th Academy Awards, and Meryl Streep's latest headline-gripping (and racially tone-deaf) slogan, Last Weekend Tonight host John Oliver has one thing on his mind: why this stuff still happens in 2016.
In the segment "How is This Still a Thing?", the comedian took on the claim POC actors aren't cast as much in movies because Hollywood "doesn't provide enough good roles" for them - hence the reason the Oscars has only had a roster of nominees "whiter than a yeti in a snowstorm fighting Tilda Swinton." But as Oliver pointed out, there are plenty of POC characters out there - they just all happen to be played by white actors.
Some examples? "Jake Gyllenhaal, a white American with a Swedish last name, was cast to play the Prince of Persia from, you know, Persia," a voiceover pointed out, referring to the popular franchise based on a video game of the same name. Other instances, like Emma Stone's turn as a half-Asian woman in Aloha and the recent controversy over the all-white cast in the historical fantasy Gods of Egypt, are also mentioned.
So why exactly does this happen? As the clip goes on to allude, if this cringe-inducing quote from producer Scott Ridley on his whitewashed cast in the biblical blockbuster Exodus doesn't say much directly, it's the simultaneous evasion and inference that say it all.
"I can't mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such," attributes Ridley in an interview with Variety featured in the vid. "I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up."
HBO hasn't uploaded the official clip, so we'll add it when they do. In the meantime, you can always click on the link here to view.