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Daredevil EP Cuts Marvel Ties After Learning of CB Cebulski/Akira Yoshida Controversy

Daredevil writer and EP Steven DeKnight weighs in on the C.B. Cebulski/Akira Yoshida controversy and cuts ties with Marvel until it’s addressed.

Steven DeKnight, a writer and executive producer on Season 1 of Netflix’s Daredevil, says he has no plans to work with Marvel until the company addresses the Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski’s “Akira Yoshida” controversy.

While this news made headlines in 2017, DeKnight — who’s largely preoccupied with his film and television work — only recently learned about it when it began making the rounds again on Twitter. “How does this man still have a job? Completely unacceptable,” DeKnight tweeted. “I had no idea. I love writing for Marvel comics, but this changes the equation. Drastically. There are so many great editors there. To allow a man who climbed to the top through cultural identity theft to remain in that position is unconscionable.” CBR reached out to Marvel for comment but has not received a response as of publication.

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“Hopefully it won’t die down this time until something is done about it,” he continued. “I, for one, will be contacting my editor — who could not be more lovely — to loudly protest this miscreant’s continued employment. I hope other creatives will do the same.” When reminded that no public action has been taken since the news broke four years ago, DeKnight added, “Something very small is happening now. I love working with Marvel but will not pursue or accept future work until this is resolved. I hope other more high profile creatives in the comic book biz will follow suit.”

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In November 2017, it was announced that Cebulski would replace Axel Alonso as the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Days later, he confirmed the long-running rumor that he used the pseudonym “Akira Yoshida” to write several titles in the 2000s while he was an editor. “I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year,” he said at the time. “It wasn’t transparent, but it taught me a lot about writing, communication and pressure. I was young and naïve and had a lot to learn back then. But this is all old news that has been dealt with, and now as Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m turning a new page and am excited to start sharing all my Marvel experiences with up and coming talent around the globe.”

Despite coming clean years later, many took issue with Cebulski — a white man — using a Japanese pseudonym to advance in an industry that has a history of struggling with Asian representation and that has routinely given a platform to books with harmful Asian stereotypes. Moreover, there were the ethical implications of a then-Marvel editor using a pseudonym to write comics at a time when Marvel had a policy in place (some argue it wasn’t a firm policy but that it was simply frowned upon) against editors writing and/or drawing books. More specifically, Marvel reportedly wouldn’t pay salaried employees like Cebulski an additional sum for tasks considered to be part of their overall responsibilities (such as writing or drawing books), but having a pseudonym unbeknownst to the higher-ups could theoretically give that person the ability to bypass the rule. That said, there’s been no evidence that Cebulski crossed that line.

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While the Cebulski/Yoshida revelation drew ire from fans, the EiC received support from a number of his peers, including editor and Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan co-creator Sana Amanat. “This is a world he understood,” she said in 2017. “He’s one of my favourite people (and) I think many people who know CB will know that he is one of the most globally minded, and very culturally sensitive as well. That man has lived in Japan, speaks Japanese, and has lived all over the world. He very much associates with Japanese culture… I think we have to be very sensitive about cultural appropriation and whitewashing. But I do think, fundamentally, that if there’s an opportunity to create more awareness about a particular type of character, whether it’s an Asian character or a black character, that should be our primary goal – telling as authentic, as honest, as fun, as real a story as possible about that character… Of course we want cultural authenticity and make sure we’re casting those people behind the scenes, but the primary goal is getting those kinds of characters out there.”

Outside of Daredevil, DeKnight’s credits include serving as a writer, executive producer and/or director on Jupiter’s LegacySpartacusSmallvilleAngelPacific Rim: Uprising and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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Source: Twitter

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