But it’s not just the death of Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) in “Takiawase” that upset some fans — charges of sexism and racism were leveled after the show killed off a strong, female, Asian character.
Only a few days after Beverly discovered the awful truth behind Hannibal Lecter — and then immediately paid the price for it — actress Park has a response in a blog posted on Tuesday (March 25).
“I thought maybe it’d be productive to talk about rather than ignore it,” Park says at the beginning of her personal blog.
“[Bryan] Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in h*** of getting,” she continues. “I rarely if ever see minorities, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz.”
Despite disagreeing with the fan reaction, Park makes it clear that she understands why it would. “When you feel marginalized by the world at large, there’s great comfort and empowerment in seeing someone you can identify with on the screen who isn’t subject to cliches or stereotypes,” Park explains. “When that gets taken away, you can feel like you’ve been f***ed over once again. And unless you’ve ever been hurt merely due to the color of your skin, what’s between your legs, or who sleeps next to you at night, you probably don’t understand that kind of pain.”
As Park makes clear later in the article, fans’ problems here aren’t even with Fuller and his storytelling choices. “Even though Bryan crafted Katz’s death from the get-go for the sake of storytelling — not to gleefully off a minority female — he wanted me to stay on for longer,” she writes. “But we’re not the only ones who have a say about that.” Instead, the show’s producers dictated that the death had to happen when — and to an extent, how — it did.
“Believe me, I would’ve preferred having Katz go down with a fight, but when I brought it up, I was told there was concern around showing Hannibal beating up a woman,” Park continues before adding that she didn’t really have a say in it. “I don’t believe they didn’t listen to me because I’m an Asian or a female. I think they didn’t listen to me because I’m an actor.”
Finally, Park points out that fans might want to expect death coming for just about any character on “Hannibal,” especially since it’s a show about “two dudes” (Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham), one of whom is “a guy who eats people.”
“I’d rather focus on the positive stuff,” Park writes in her conclusion. “I got to play this amazing woman who didn’t have to sleep with anyone (not that I would have minded) or act dumb and girlie or fawn all over some guy or be a conniving b**** to get people to notice or respect me, and she didn’t speak broken English or karate chop anyone (not that I would have minded). Nobody called her ‘dragon lady’ or ‘exotic.’ She could shoot a gun and drive that FBI SUV like a champ. And all with the extra added bonus of being Jewish.”
“Hannibal” airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on NBC.