To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Actor Put on Blast for Racially-Insensitive Tweets

Take Crazy Rich Asians’ outstanding box office debut and combine it with the super positive response to Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and it’s been a pretty incredible week for Asian representation and recognition.

But unfortunately, racially-insensitive tweets that were uncovered following the latter’s release managed to taint the otherwise-perfect opening weekend.

Israel Broussard stars in Netflix’s take on the Jenny Han bestseller, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and plays the role of love interest Josh Sanderson. Over the weekend, Twitter user @Seb_Paradise dug through the actor’s tweets and found some pretty inappropriate things.

In the midst of such a historic moment for the Asian community, one really stood out.

“Dogs can sense earthquakes. Too bad Japan ate them all,” Broussard posted in July 2011.

The tweet isn’t only problematic for its commentary on Japanese people, but it’s also offensive because of its timing. Only a few months before, Japan was devastated by 2011’s Tōhoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami. The powerful 9.1 magnitude earthquake was the largest ever to hit Japan, resulting in dangerous 30-foot waves that battered the coastline. The natural disaster caused over 20,000 deaths and thousands more were marked as missing.

The Twitter user @Seb_Paradise expressed his disgust for Broussard’s blatant lack of empathy. “What makes this infuriating is that his tweet is made in reference to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which killed around 16000 people in Japan,” he writes, before adding that the tweet was also posted only a few days after a frightening aftershock. “Instead of offering condolences, Broussard chose to racially insult Japanese people. This just shows how much he values Asians,” he continues in the thread.

The resurfacing of this tweet prompted other users to comb through Broussard’s feed. PopBuzz discovered one that said, “Hashtags don’t fucking matter. but all lives do. black lives matter. white lives matter. police lives matter.” In another post he says that the Black Lives Matter movement was only focused on “division”.

“It really sucks that this man got to star in the rare film that had an Asian-American woman as the romantic lead,” @moya_lm tweeted. And user @hollanstoms declared that the emerging star is “already cancelled”.

Broussard eventually issued an apology late last night on Twitter.

Broussard isn’t the first to have old social media posts come back to haunt him. Earlier this week, the beauty community was up in arms after users found racially-insensitive tweets while looking into the online history of “makeup gurus” like Laura Lee and Gabriel Zamora. Laura Lee has seen a steady decline in YouTube subscribers ever since.

Growing up on social media means a trail of information that documents both good and bad decisions. And with the rate at which we share our lives, it can be easy to forget about the things we’ve liked or posted about in the past. Growing up means changing and developing, but the internet tends to seal things in stone.

So when is it justifiable to “cancel” someone?

James Gunn, who was set to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, was ousted from his role this summer as old tweets of his resurfaced in which he joked about topics like rape and pedophilia. The posts led to swift repercussions, but the superhero franchise’s cast was quick to come to the director’s defence, signing an open letter of support for Gunn. A lot of the public agreed with them.

Alternatively, in the case of Roseanne Barr, her own racism on Twitter resulted in the quick cancellation of the Roseanne revival and no one really doubted that this was the right decision.

But what about cases like The Bachelorette, where this year’s winner, Garett Yrigoyen, got in hot water over inappropriate likes on Instagram? The jury was pretty divided in this case, with some supporting his apology and commitment to changing himself for the better and others not quite buying it.

These cases create a lot of questions. Does our past define us? Can people move on from their mistakes and grow? Can we, as an audience, forgive? In the case of Barr, her responses after the fact are what really left a bitter taste in people’s mouths. In the case of Broussard, he’s trying to apologize and wants to educate himself. So what do we think? Cancelled? Or pending?

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