A video recently went viral, showing people on the streets of Beijing slighting Simu Liu's looks and saying he may be attractive to Americans but he's not up to the Chinese standards of beauty. The actor responded to reports -- and he responded so well, it just served to prove he's pretty much perfect inside and out. Fans are now flooding his mentions with compliments, so the sour lemon of the video is now officially sweet summer lemonade.
Asian Boss posted a video on the topic, starting by noting that both Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu and Awkwafina were considered "very ugly" on Chinese social media. So the reporter hit the streets with photos of Simu Liu to gauge the opinions of average people in Beijing, asking them to grade his looks on a scale of 1-10.
One woman said he's "quite handsome." Another said "I'd give him a 6. ... He's just about average. I don't think he's considered handsome by Chinese standards." Another would give him a "7.5," but then said he's not really handsome.
One harsh critic said he'd get a "3.5" because he looks "old" and "old-fashioned." Another non-fan said she was surprised and "disappointed" to learn he'll be the superhero, since they have more handsome Chinese actors for the role. Simu Liu looks all right to "foreigners," one said, but Chinese people prefer men with a delicate face.
One of the men in the video said Americans and Chinese just have different beauty standards -- he also said he thinks all Americans look the same, and figures Americans probably feel the same about Chinese.
All in all, it was a disappointingly shallow read on Simu Liu. (It's disappointing when anyone is valued numerically. People are not movies to grade.) The video found its way to the actor, and he reacted with humor on Twitter, and thoughtfulness on Facebook.
That tongue-in-cheek tweet was met with the kind of responses you might expect -- with fans lashing out at the video, joking "if it's Opposite Day," and complimenting his hotness.
He shared a lengthy statement on Facebook directly responding to the video, leading with a joke and getting into more serious territory:
I love that he turned this insult into an inspiring "teachable moment." As Simu Liu wrote:
I'm not going a few voices of doubt ruin that for me, and neither should you, in whatever you are pursuing in your life.
Good for him. It's sad but not surprising when early conversation about a star is about his or her looks. Film is a visual medium. But it had to cut even deeper for Marvel's first Asian lead superhero be derided for his looks by people from his own native China.
But, again, the upside is that this is giving many, many fans a chance to tell Simu Liu that he's very handsome, but also has a dozen other great qualities to him -- all shown off by his reaction to this "controversy" in China.
You can tell he's been following the reactions, and appreciates the support:
I have no doubt Simu Liu will win over fans around the world.
China is the second biggest box office market in the world after the United States. I seriously doubt this early talk about Simu Liu's looks will hurt Marvel's take there when the movie comes out on February 12, 2021. It's just like when someone does a man-on-the-street report in the U.S. and you disagree with just about everything people say. China is way too big a country with WAY too many people to let one opinion speak for everyone. Other early reports pointed to many Chinese fans being thrilled to see Chinese hero Shang-Chi played by a Chinese actor. Like anywhere, it'll be a mix of positive and negative responses. Welcome to humanity.