Tim Burton’s Racist Past Creates a Bad Rep for ‘Wednesday’
Netflix's Wednesday is creating quite a buzz on social media right now. The show, set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2022, has been getting mostly good responses from fans and critics alike.
The one thing that has, however, been dragging the show down is its director, Tim Burton.
Burton's involvement with the show has caused an uproar on the internet because of his controversial comments in the past. Even the casting, which has been getting praises, is now under scrutiny.
Is Tim Burton Racist?
That question carries with it a lot of baggage, judgment, and disagreements, but what we will do here is look at things he has done or said in the past that have been widely considered racist.
Many are of the opinion that Burton has always opted to cast white people in his movies, even in roles that could have been otherwise played by a person of color.
The director, who has over 40 directorial credits, rarely casts a black actor in a lead role. The exceptions are only two — Samuel L. Jackson in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) and Ken Page’s voice in A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). And even Jackson portrayed a villain.
'Wednesday' director Tim Burton at The Neon Museum. (Photo: Tim Burton/Instagram)
As for why he does that, Burton's reasonings have been less than convincing. The most famous of these reasonings have been that black or brown people do not fit the aesthetic of his projects, which are mostly based on gothic themes.
And in 2016, he went further with his bluntness. During an interview with Bustle, he implied the calls for diversity were a new thing.
"Nowadays, people are talking about it more," he said of his at-the-time movie, Miss Peregrine, when asked about the cast diversity. "Things either call for things, or they don’t."
I asked Tim Burton about the lack of diversity in 'Miss Peregrine's. Here's his excuse. https://t.co/Ez2mA69O2f pic.twitter.com/nOT1umIoUl — Rachel Simon (@Rachel_Simon) September 29, 2016
He even gave examples of the '70s blaxploitation movies and said he did not think those movies should have had more white actors in them. That comment was especially outrageous because blaxploitation movies were made to mock racism and selective casting in Hollywood.
On other occasions, he has failed to recognize Jewish cultural elements in his works.
Tim Burton's ‘Wednesday’ and Correcting His ‘Aesthetic’
Wednesday is a comedy horror about Wednesday Addams, a member of The Addams Family. Burton is the director for the first two episodes, with the rest of the six episodes' directors to yet be named.
Mayhem, mystery and murder — this isn't your average Wednesday.
From the mind of Tim Burton, comes @WednesdayAddams. Premiering this fall pic.twitter.com/uGSQuTc5s7 — Netflix (@netflix) August 17, 2022
The show's casting generated a particular buzz because when news about Burton directing the show came out, people were interested in the route Burton would go with his casting.
Whether the director would stick to his "aesthetic" argument or if he would respect the source material and cast ethnically-fitting actors for the roles, everyone wanted to know. And the casting has, mostly, not disappointed.
Jenna Ortega is playing Wednesday, and Luis Guzman is playing her father. These choices, as well as others, show diversity being considered.
However, this is also being understood as somewhat of a ploy by Burton.
Because of his past comments, people seem to think they understand where Burton stands when it comes to diverse casting. So many are speculating that the director is using Wednesday's cast as a shield to protect himself from criticisms of being racist.
tim burton finally realizing a brown person can fit his “aesthetic”ðŸ’€ this casting for wednesday tho is awesome im excited https://t.co/rZVlSz0gGN — definitely not wren (@cholatits) August 18, 2022
Twitter seems to be noticing, or rather, joking about how Burton might have finally let go of his "aesthetic" argument. Users there also seem to be happy about the casting.