Netizens Call Out K-Media For Whitewashing Zendaya


Actors ZendayaTimothée Chalamet, and Austin Butler are currently promoting their new film Dune: Part 2, a sequel to the first Dune film, an adaptation of the novel of the same name.

The stars recently arrived in Korea for event promos, much to the excitement of basically everyone.

While there, they were met with a warm welcome, first by fans eager to greet them at the airport as they arrived and other special events. Chalamet and Zendaya also embraced the local culture, rocking outfits created by a Korean designer, Juun.J.

i’m so used to seeing those airport doors as a kpop stan that seeing zendaya come out of them left me stunned for a moment like….is this even real

— 門 (@dyodayas) February 20, 2024

The stars also ended up in their K-Pop eras during one of the promotional events, with each performing aegyo and giving out finger hearts.

Austin Butler, Zendaya, and Timothée Chalamet.

However, to the surprise of netizens, another aspect of K-Pop has affected Zendaya.

One thing that fans have often pushed back against is the whitewashing of idols that have deeper skin tones. For example, in photos, NCT’s Haechan has often been whitewashed, and fans express how much they love his skin tone.

NCT’s Haechan

Zendaya is of mixed ancestry, born to an African-American father and a white mother. As a result, she has a lighter skin tone than her father but is by no means pale.

Zendaya and her parents. | @zendaya/Instagram

In several photos from the Dune: Part 2 promotions in Korea, Zendaya has been washed out, nearly appearing to be the same color as Chalamet in non-whitewashed photos.

While lighting can account for some differences, Zendaya looks different at other well-let events, even during the same night.

Netizens were surprised to see this, especially with how light Zendaya’s skin tone is usually.

The Korean media whitewashing ZENDAYA!! They will whitewash anyone and everyone…

— bri (@CHATSHlRE) February 21, 2024

I can tell this is a picture taken by a Korean-ent news outlet because why did they whitewash Zendaya like this?

— Larryibo (@winterwoman112) February 22, 2024

Zendaya unnie omonaaaa

Really get that kpop idols treatment with having to do aegyo and got whitewashed

— .r.i. (@ri4tn) February 22, 2024


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