fbpx
AmericasCulture

Oscar winner Rami Malek refused to play the role of an “Arab terrorist”

Malek explained that his own ethnic background of being an Egyptian Arab helped him realize the importance in being aware of the damage stereotyping can do in Hollywood.

Malek explained that his own ethnic background of being an Egyptian Arab helped him realize the importance in being aware of the damage stereotyping can do in Hollywood.

Rami Malek, known for his leading role in Mr. Robot and Oscar award winning performance in the Bohemian Rhapsody, has recently revealed that for his upcoming role as the villain in Bond 25, he refused to play the role of an Arabic-speaking terrorist or a villain who uses religion to justify his crimes.

The Riz Test: Challenging how Muslims are portrayed on screen

Malek explained that his own ethnic background of being an Egyptian Arab helped him realize the importance in being aware of the damage stereotyping can do in Hollywood.

I am Egyptian. These are my people. I feel so gorgeously tied to the culture and the human beings that exist there…The one thing that I discussed with [director] Cary Fukunaga [was that] we cannot identify him with any act of terrorism reflecting an ideology or a religion. That’s not something I would entertain, so if that is why I am your choice then you can count me out.”

Hollywood has long been criticized for its role in stereotyping Muslims and promoting Islamophobia within pop culture, and regularly portrays Arabs as terrorists or backwards-thinking peoples. As seen in this case, the question remains that if Malek wasn’t Arab, would he even have been offered the role of the villain?

Hollywood’s latest victim of ‘whitewashing’… Jalaluddin Rumi

While Malek is not Muslim himself, as a Western Arab this decision from him remains an important step in helping stop the negative portrayal of Arabs or people of color in Hollywood in general. With more representation and involvement from Arabs and other ethnic groups in Hollywood, we can hope that the future of Hollywood has less stereotypes and more positive outcomes in pop culture and its influence on society.

Related

Latest

Latest videos