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'Mandarin is not an easy language': Simu Liu explains his criticism of ‘Moon Knight’

·3 min read

Simu Liu further explained the criticism he made against Ethan Hawke’s character’s use of Mandarin in the Disney Plus series “Moon Knight.”

“I think there’s maybe a misconception that Marvel is this kind of monolithic, all-powerful single organism with infinite resources,” Liu told GQ earlier this month. “I think that it’s easy to allocate the blame to Marvel as a whole. If you really break it down, there was a translator that probably shouldn’t have been a translator. There were probably a couple of people in the decision-making process that should have raised a flag that didn’t.”

The “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star added, “I have full appreciation for the fact that Mandarin is not an easy language. I didn’t want to make it into a big political thing. I just wanted to make fun of it because the sound that came out of that man’s mouth did not resemble Mandarin in any way, shape or form.”

Liu went viral in April after criticizing the pronunciation in the second episode of “Moon Knight,” in which Hawke’s character, series villain Arthur Harrow, speaks Mandarin to one of his followers.

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In response, series director Mohamed Diab said earlier this month, “Next time, we’re going to do better. There’s still room, if one day we’re expanding this, and I think we’re all ears. You won’t meet anyone who believes in representation and that everyone’s voice should be heard more than me.”

The Chinese Canadian actor has been vocal about Asian representation in the entertainment industry and the rise in anti-Asian hate brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The truth is that Asian people have been targeted and discriminated against for far, far longer than COVID has been around,” Liu wrote in an essay last year for Variety. “These recent attacks, fueled by racist rhetoric in the wake of the coronavirus, are yet another reminder that we are only seen as the foreigners, the unwelcome presence … the other.”

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In March, the actor refused to sign Marvel comics that contain offensive material, such as the “Masters of Kung-Fu” series in which Shang-Chi first makes his appearance.

“Simu Liu will not sign any Master of Kung Fu comics or other comics deemed offensive. All autographs from Simu will be signed in English only,” organizers of the ACE Experience/Awesome Con event stated in March.

All six episodes of “Moon Knight” are now streaming on Disney Plus.

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Featured Image via WIRED (left) / YouTube (right)