Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta has been cast in the Marvel universe as Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the Latine community has been over the moon since his casting was announced. But Marvel Comics artist Mike Deodato Jr. apparently didn’t share the same kind of joy.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Deodato Jr. is being called out for making comments that some are calling racist and body shaming Huerta for his physique.
“You can tell somebody screwed things up when a character from a movie looks in worst [sic] shape than the 60 years old artist who drew him,” Deodato Jr. wrote in the now-deleted Instagram post. This quote was accompanied by a photo of Huerta’s back as he’s rising from the water as Namor in the Black Panther 2 trailer and Deodato’s back, who was seemingly naked.
Marvel fans and the Latine community have criticized this post as racist while also disagreeing with Deodato’s comment as a whole.
Fans are also calling out Deodato Jr. for body shaming Huerta, who has absolutely put in months of training to take on the physically taxing role of the Sub-Mariner and warrior known as Namor.
After the criticism, Deodato Jr. took to his Twitter to try and explain his comments:
“I recently made a joke about the appearance of a comic book character on screen that got out of hand because of internet haters. So let me clarify: – I was mocking the comic book character, not the actor. It could be cgi, a muppet or a robot there, I was targeting a ficcional character in a movie, not a person in real life. – I had no idea who was the actor nor his ethnicity. It wouldn’t change a thing for me even if he was from Brasil like myself. So the accusations of me being racist are just dumb. It was not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, specially the actor in question, who, I am sure will do a great job with the character. Back to the drawing board. (with pants this time).”
This response only escalated things as fans said that he was using his nationality as a shield, as if being Brazilian makes you exempt from the possibility of being racist or as if colorism within our own communities hasn’t existed for ages, which Tenoch has called out specifically.