Belfast Telegraph

Margaret Cho: 'I stand by my emails to Tilda Swinton'

Tilda Swinton has yet to respond to Margaret Cho directly.

Comedienne Margaret Cho remains a "huge fan" of Tilda Swinton, despite publicly criticising the actress for failing to grasp the controversy surrounding her role in Doctor Strange.

During an appearance on the TigerBelly podcast on Friday (16Dec16), Margaret revealed Tilda had asked her for advice following the race drama surrounding her casting as the Ancient One, a comic book character who was originally depicted as an old Tibetan man, and suggested the correspondence did not go well.

Margaret claimed Tilda "didn't understand why people were so mad about Doctor Strange", adding she wanted to get the comic's "take on why all the Asian people were mad".

"(She) was like, 'Could you please tell them...'" Margaret recalled. "I'm like, 'B**ch, I can't tell them... I don't have a yellow phone under a cake dome'."

Hours after the podcast aired, Tilda took issue with the comedienne's version of events, and released the email correspondence between herself and Margaret via her publicist.

In her original message, the actress wrote: "Dear Margaret, We've never met, but you've been in my head for years - I'm a fan. I want to ask you a favour now which is sprung out of a truly important social conversation but may be heading for some crazy-making s**t. The diversity debate - ALL STRENGTH to it - has come knocking at the door of Marvel's new movie DR STRANGE. I am told that you are aware of this. But since I am that extinct beast that does no social media, I am unaware of what exactly anybody has said about any of it.

"I believe there are some ironies about this particular film being a target, but I'm frankly much more interested in listening than saying anything much. I would really love to hear your thoughts and have a - private - conversation about it. Are you up for this? Can we e-mail? No wrong answer here. Tell me to f**k off if you feel like it. In any and every case, Much love to you, Tilda."

Margaret responded: "Sure! I'm a big fan of yours... I can tell you from my perspective what's happening! The character you played in Dr Strange was originally written as a Tibetan man and so there's a frustrated population of Asian Americans who feel the role should have gone to a person of Asian descent.

"The larger part of the debate has to do with the 'whitewashing' of Asian and Asian Americans in film. Our stories are told by white actors over and over again and we feel at a loss to know how to cope with it. Protest seems to be the only solution - we just want more representative images of ourselves in film... hope this helps! We can totally email and we can be private!"

The correspondence between the two women appeared to stay upbeat and positive with Tilda thanking Margaret for her input.

Tilda has yet to directly respond to Margaret, but the comedienne has now commented on the email controversy, insisting she stands by what she wrote.

"Asian actors should play Asian roles," she told Vulture. "I believe my emails stand on their own and should be taken for the spirit in which they were intended. I am grateful that the debate has now entered the national discussion and remain a huge fan of Tilda's..."

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