BIPOC Voices, Entertainment

‘Blue Bayou’ facing backlash with accusations of stolen story

We don’t Stan shady Asian American representation and stolen stories.

words by: Alee Kwong
Oct 7, 2021

Asian American representation in the media has been huge the past few years. We’ve seen a variety of stories from the unrelatable opulence in Crazy Rich Asians, the struggle behind building of the “American dream” in Minari, and more recently, our very first Asian superhero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Being Asian in America has not been the easiest throughout our history here in this country, but the breaking point happened last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. After being scapegoated as the origin of the virus, our image became something that had to be tread with caution.

 

Blue Bayou is based on the story of real-life Korean adoptee, Adam Crapser. The film debuted on September 17 and received praise across the board from Asian celebrities and people from the Asian American community. Three days later, on September 20, Adam Crapser released a statement on Facebook expressing his disappointment in Justin Chon and explained how his story as a Korean adoptee was used without his consent and exploited in Chon’s film.

 

Crapser recalled that in 2017, Chon initially reached out wanting to hear more about his life story as an adoptee. Crapser then offered to connect Justin Chon with actor Daniel Dae Kim “who flew to Korea to discuss a film” with him. He said he didn’t hear back from Chon or his team until 2020 when a producer asked for permission to use his likeness in the film and to make an “insensitive” request for a photo of Crapser with his adoptive parents.

 

“I’m a real person. I’m not a Hollywood character made for profit, award-seeking or tear-jerking movies.” — Adam Crapser (via Facebook)

 

 

Adam Crapser is a deportee currently going through a 10-year ban from the U.S. He is also a survivor of physical, mental and sexual abuse inflicted by his adoptive parents, who were convicted in 1992 for their mistreatment of him and his adoptive siblings. Due to Chon’s blatant exploitation of Crapser’s lived experience, many took to social media on September 21 to support Adoptees for Justice in their call to boycott Blue Bayou and signal boost the organization’s unwavering support for Crapser.

 

Transracial adoptee stories are rarely told. It’s a sensitive topic that has a lot of nuance and involves a lot of stories of hurt, loss, resentment, and confusion. These are not stories that we should take lightly or watch with levity. Just as a reminder, not all representation is good representation. Sensitivity transcends race, always.

 

In related entertainment news, check out October’s movies to watch.

 

Photo via Focus Features