Gemma Chan has some thoughts about toxic work environments.
The “Crazy Rich Asians” actor — who has supported change-seeking organizations such as Time’s Up, which addressed sexual harassment until shutting down earlier this year — spoke on the current culture in Hollywood in an Elle UK interview published Monday.
“It’s still inherently risky, I think, to bite the hand that feeds you,” Chan said. “And there’s still a lot of bad behavior in the industry. It’s very difficult to change that culture.”
She also added that the industry needs to rethink its framing around Asian characters and narratives, noting that having representation and working with Asian storytellers is a good starting point.
“I feel like we’ve got our foot in the door. It’s storytelling in all its genres, and I think it’s great, because it also shows that we’re not a monolith,” she said. “There are a multitude of experiences and stories to tell from within our communities.”
The “Eternals” star hopes to contribute through her producing work.
“It feels really natural, and a really good thing to be involved at a much earlier stage in finding these stories,” she said.
Chan has been an advocate for the Asian community outside of entertainment for years.
In 2021, she spoke out against anti-Asian hate crimes after a person violently attacked a 91-year-old man in Oakland’s Chinatown district.
Chan shared video of the Chinatown attack in an effort to raise awareness of hate crimes against Asian Americans, which surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is difficult to watch but this is a plea for help,” Chan wrote with her post of the video. “The community is in pain from these completely unprovoked attacks but the crimes are too often ignored and underreported. Imagine if this was your father or grandfather?”
She called for the attacks to be recognized as hate crimes. “The violence will only end when the silence ends,” she wrote.
Before advocating for something, the 40-year-old actor said, she asks herself a series of questions to make sure her advocacy highlights her cause over all else.
“Is it helpful for me to be saying something about this? Am I the best placed person to say something about this?” she told Elle. “Am I going to take up space from someone else? It’s all evolving for me, and I’m still trying to work out how I can help rather than hinder the progress that we all want.”