CHATSWORTH, Calif.—For its forthcoming, as-yet-untitled parody of AMC's The Walking Dead, BurningAngel Entertainment chose to cast Caucasian performer Danny Wylde (pictured) in the role of Glenn, the Asian character played on the series by Korean-American actor Steven Yeun. And in reaction to this bit of makeup-assisted slot filling (pun possibly intended), women's interest website Jezebel.com has screamed racism in a piece by Tracie Egan Morrissey published today.
To which we respond: Are you kidding right now? Because to charge the makers of a PORN PARODY with racism for casting a white dude as an Asian dude has to be one of the most absurd things we've seen any media outlet do in a good while. Especially when the main object of the finger-wagging is BA owner and the project's writer/director, Joanna Angel ... a very overtly Jewish gal plenty conscious of ethnic bigotry.
Not to suggest that being Jewish grants you automatic immunity from having anything you do or say be construed as racist, but it does put you on pretty equal footing with other oppressed minorities, meaning any portrayal of Jews could just as rightfully be labeled offensive if you deemed it so. But did Joanna (or anyone else) rise up in arms over the 2009 release Nice Jewish Girls, which cast—you guessed it—non-Jews as the titular targets of lust, complete with ridiculous headdresses and frocks? Nope. You know why? We're guessing because IT WAS A FRICKIN' PORNO! (Granted, it was in fact made by a Jewish guy, and thus doesn't serve as the most level basis for comparison, but it's not too far off either.)
All that aside, though, let's just look at the basic facts here: Joanna needed somebody to play Glenn, a major character in The Walking Dead who happens to be Asian. There is one Asian male adult star in the U.S.: Keni Styles. For perfectly legitimate reasons, we're sure, Joanna could not use Keni Styles for the part. And so she decided to use Danny Wylde and make him look Asian. Is there something inherently racist about that? She didn't make him reverse his l's and r's, or cook up some dog, or drive poorly. She just put makeup on him to make him resemble the character. In last year's Baristas, she had Wylde talk with an Australian accent—was that an affront to Australians? In Asphyxia Heels the World, she had him do a hillbilly twang—should the Whites of West Virginia have been outraged?
Just for the sake of argument, let's say Joanna HAD put Keni Styles in the role—mightn't that in fact have been interepreted as far more racist, since Steven Yeun is Korean and Keni Styles is Thai? The implication there, naturally, would be that all Asians are interchangeable ... not too PC last we checked.
But beyond all of that, there's an even grander, more gaping hole in Jezebel's indictment: The fact that if they'd done the briefest Google search, they'd have come up with so many exponentially more demeaning depictions of Asians in porn, it would make this look downright noble. Just have a glimpse at some of the titles that have graced adult retail shelves in the past few months: Shrimp Fried Pussy (Wicked Pictures), Fortune Cookie Pussy (Justin Slayer International), Dim Sum Pussy (Vouyer Media), Yellow Fever (Exquisite Multimedia), Sum Yung Ho (O Gee Studios), Sushi Sluts (Legend Video), Thai Teens: We Masturbate for You (DreamGirls). The list goes on.
Our point is that to call Joanna and BurningAngel on the carpet for alleged "racism" over a makeup job in a porn spoof is both wildly random and horribly ill informed. How about the next time you want to tackle a porn-related offense, Jezebel, you consider the topic of, say, people who know nothing about porn writing about porn?
[Ed. Note -- AVN has learned since the publication of this piece that Tommy Pistol, not Joanna Angel, is the writer/director of BurningAngel's Walking Dead parody.]