Iron Fist’s Finn Jones has returned to Twitter today, aftering deleting his account following a heated debate about diversity and the Netflix series.
The show, which completes the streaming giant’s quartet of Hell’s Kitchen Defenders, stars the Game of Thrones actor as Danny Rand, a billionaire who returns to New York City after being missing for years, trying to reconnect with his past and his family legacy. He fights against the criminal element corrupting New York City with his incredible kung-fu mastery and ability to summon “the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist”.
The show, which is based on the comics first written in the 70s, came under fire for its casting of Finn in the lead role, with a large number of fans arguing the show should have modernised the comic books’ outdated racial tropes, casting an Asian-American actor at a time when diversity has never been a higher profile issue in the media industry. Indeed, Riz Ahmed delivered an inspiring, passionate speech about the importance of diversity last week. When Finn took to Twitter to share the speech, though, the 28-year-old actor was met with a backlash from fans.
After engaging in an exchange on the social network, Jones deleted his Twitter account at the weekend, ultimately returning yesterday.
“I’m currently in the middle of filming and I need to stay focused on bringing to life this character without judgment, so I decided to remove myself from Twitter for the time being,” he exclusively explained to Deadline, writing this statement:
“There is a huge benefit to engage and help shape conversations on social media, especially when it comes to giving a voice to social matters. My original intention was to amplify a speech made by Riz Ahmed at the House of Commons. It was a very articulate and important speech on representation that I wholly agreed with. After posting I was inundated by people accusing me of not being allowed to share his voice based on an assumption that our show is going to play into the problems of racial inequality on screen. I engaged politely, diplomatically and attempted to bridge the divide. I’m currently in the middle of filming and I need to stay focused on bringing to life this character without judgment, so I decided to remove myself from twitter for the time being.
“I am very proud of the work everyone has done on this series and I’m excited for people to see how we’ve adapted the story. We have gone to great lengths to represent a diverse cast with an intelligent, socially progressive storyline. I hope people can watch the show before making judgments. In times, as divisive as these, we need to stay unified, compassionate and understanding in our differences.”
This not the first time that Jones has had to defend the show from critics, insisting in an interview with Buzzfeed that Rand is not a white saviour.
“Danny Rand is not a white savior,” he commented. “Danny Rand can hardly save himself, let alone an entire race of people. He is a very complicated, vulnerable individual. He doesn’t just show up, like, ‘Hey dudes, I’ve just learned martial arts! I’m going to save the world’.”
“We’re not stereotypes, and hopefully, that’s what the show does. Hopefully the show doesn’t — I don’t think it does — deal in stereotypes, which I think people are worried about,” he added, going on to say that the show goes on to explore Danny’s place in the world in more depth.
“It’s not until [Episode 8] where you have other characters come in from other places that we really start playing around with the idea of Danny being the Iron Fist and addressing those issues,” he commented. “Then you’re really like, Oh shit, now we’re getting into those philosophical ideas of identity and culture.'”
All 13 episodes of Iron Fist premiere on Netflix worldwide on Friday 17th March. For trailers and pictures of the cast in action, click here.