The actress Lily Gao has returned to social media and addressed the criticism she received for playing Ada Wong in the Resident Evil 4 Remake. The practice of using non-Asian actors to play Asian characters is common, and according to Gao, it contributes significantly to the hatred she has received by feeding negative preconceptions and undermining the portrayal of the Asian community.
Gao claims in a statement that most of the animosity she has seen is due to the fact that many Asian characters, like Ada, are frequently voiced by non-Asian actors. Such inaccurate casts, according to her, “perpetuate an unhealthy image that further dehumanises the community they seek to reflect.” Ada’s writing in Resident Evil 4 Remake is also praised by Gao, who claims that she is a “survivor” and “absolutely not a stereotype.”
She said –
“Being the first Asian actor to portray Ada in the Resident Evil video games is an honour, and I will forever be grateful to our producer and director, for making the decision on authentic representation,” says Gao, speaking in her first statement since she took a break from social media.
“While criticism is expected, it’s not the first time an actor of colour faces racist and sexist harassment, for simply participating,” she continues. “It is time we stop only capitalizing on the sexualized, eroticized, and mysterious Asian woman, and make space to honour every kind of Asian woman. My Ada is a survivor. She is kind, just, intelligent, and funny. She is unpredictable, resilient, and absolutely not a stereotype.”
This claim appears to be directed at individuals who questioned Capcom for selecting Gao as Ada’s voice actor over her prior voice actresses, none of whom were Asian. Gao was also attacked for adopting a voice that was distinctive rather than replicating Ada’s prior voices from the original game.
The response from fans appears to be, for the most part, positive, especially after many saw the severity of the abuse Gao endured after the release of Resident Evil 4 Remake. However, others continue to question how she came across in the answers or attempt to minimise the gravity of the abuse she received.
In any event, it appears that Gao’s perspective on Ada will shortly be expanded upon. Today’s most recent Resident Evil 4 Remake update contained further information on the Ada-focused DLC, Separate Ways. Gao’s statement makes no mention of this or any upcoming Ada projects, but it is reasonable to infer that she will be the show’s director once Separate Ways premieres.
Even the nature of the update—a paid DLC or a free update—is unknown at this time. The good news is that Mercenaries was just added without charging extra, which is encouraging for this new game option.