Gemma Chan has addressed a controversial 2010 episode of popular BBC series Sherlock and suggested she regrets her part in it.
The 38-year-old actor appeared in the second episode of season one, titled “The Blind Baker”, where she played the role of a Chinese pottery expert who works at the fictional National Antiquities Museum in London.
From the start of the episode, Chan is seen wearing a qipao – a Chinese traditional dress – and is speaking in a strong Chinese accent.
As the episode builds up, it is discovered that Chan’s character was formerly a member of the Black Lotus Tong gang, who are responsible for smuggling valuable artefacts from China into London.
At the time, many fans criticised the Eternals actor for “being racially tone-deaf”.
“Would I necessarily make the same choices now, if given the choice? Maybe not,” she said while referring to the Sherlock episode. “I think I would speak up more if I felt that a role was leaning into an orientalist trope of some sort. I’m much more aware. And I think I’m in more of a position where I could say something.”
“With complete respect to everyone involved… I’m not here to throw shade on anyone… but yeah, I totally hear what you’re saying. I don’t look down on anyone doing any position or in any job on set.
“The industry has really shifted, even in just the time that I’ve been working,” she added. “Changing the actual culture – changing in practice – takes longer.”
Earlier this year, Chan announced her support for a campaign raising money for the East and southeast Asian community (ESEA) in light of a recent surge in anti-Asian hate crime.
The Humans actor announced her support for the campaign on Instagram with a post that states #StopEast+SouthEastAsianHate with a link to a GoFundMe page.