The movie stars Christian Bale as Moses, as well as Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver. As filming photos have been released, internet users have been quick to point out that the Bible figures and Egyptian royalty were played by white actors; slaves are depicted in the film by black actors.
“Quit trying to rewrite and whitewash history. It’s not working. Ancient Egyptians weren’t white,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Why are we still living in a mind frame that the people of Egypt were white? This is 2014,” wrote another.
Hollywood has been accused of whitewashing a cast before, most recently with another Bible epic, “Noah.”
Ryan Herring wrote an op-ed for Sojourners
last November in response to the film writing, “Some things never change. In Hollywood, whitewashing, also known as racebending, is one of many longstanding tradition...Historically, this practice was used to discriminate against actors, both male and female, of color. The most common examples of this in the past were white actors dressing up in what is known as blackface, redface, and yellowface. While maybe not as controversial or blatant today, the practice of whitewashing still continues in Hollywood...[where] roles from scripts that clearly call for a person of color are given to white actors."
Publication date: July 18, 2014