Cameron Crowe's 'Aloha' Criticized for Depicting "Whitewashed" Hawaii

The Bradley Cooper-Emma Stone film "uses Hawaii for its exotic backdrop but goes out of its way to exclude the very people who live there," according to an advocacy group.

The forthcoming Cameron Crowe-directed film Aloha is finding itself making headlines for unflattering reasons again. 

The Media Action Network for Asian-Americans released a press release to the New York Post that accuses the Columbia Pictures dramedy of presenting a "whitewashed" version of Hawaii.

"Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99 percent," said Guy Aoki, head and co-founder of MANAA.

"This comes in a long line of films — The Descendants, 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, Pearl Harbor — that uses Hawaii for its exotic backdrop but goes out of its way to exclude the very people who live there," Aoki continued. "It's an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii."

According to Aoki, the largest roles for islanders in Aloha are characters without names, some of whom are described as "Indian pedestrian," "upscale Japanese tourist" and "upscale restaurant guest."

"How can you educate your audience to the 'rich history' of Hawaii by using mostly white people and excluding the majority of the people who live there and who helped build that history?" he said.

Sony declined to comment, and a MANAA rep did not respond to a request for comment. An Aloha source tells The Hollywood Reporter that no member of MANAA has yet to see the film or read the script and that the film's storyline centers on the spirit of the Hawaiian people. 

Last year, 20th Century Fox's Exodus: Gods and Kings dealt with similar criticism over white actors playing Egyptian roles

This is not the first hiccup that Aloha has faced. Following last year's Sony hack, leaked emails from Amy Pascal revealed that she took issue with the film's difficult production.

Aloha stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin and Bill Murray in the story of a military contractor (Cooper) who moves to Hawaii for work and falls for an energetic Air Force member (Stone). Sony releases the film May 29, and the trailer can be seen above.

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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