Monday, March 13, 2017

The whitewashing of Preet Bharara; what's next for the former U.S. Attorney for NY

Paul Giamatti, left, plays a U.S. attorney based on Preet Bharara in the TV show 'Billions.' Damian Lewi, right, s is his target, billionaire hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod.
IN RESEARCHING the story about Preet Bharara's firing by the Trump Administration, I learned something I hadn't know before: The television  series Billions is loosely based on Bharara, whose integrity and effectiveness earned him the monicker, the Sheriff of Wall Street.

It appears, Billions is another case of whitewashing, where Asian characters are turned into white roles?

The Showtime hit series is loosely based on the real-life investigation by Bharara of hedge fund manager Steve Cohen of SAC Capital, with Paul Giamatti’s character, the hard-charging, whip-smart Charles “Chuck” Rhodes Jr. playing a version of the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

We've seen this happen too often before to not acknowledge the possibility - recent examples include, Aloha, in which Emma Stone plays a hapa Hawaiian, Ghost in the Shell where Scarlett Johansson takes on the role that was originally Japanese; and in 21, based on a true story whose lead characters in real-life, were Asian/Americans but whose characters were turned into white roles for the movie.

FYI: Deadline reports that after the news of Bharara's firing was revealed, Billions creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien tweeted their support for Bharara.

“You’re a great man, Preet. An inspiration. Can’t wait to see what’s next,” Koppelman tweeted, adding, “Tech advisor + cameo?”

Levien retweeted Koppelman suggesting that Bharara should join the writing team.

Bharara is also being urged to run for political office. New York City mayor and New York governor are two posts that his fans are asking him to consider. In the past, Bharara has poohed-poohed the possibility of holding an elected office.