After Brenda Song claimed she was told her "image was basically not Asian enough" to audition for Crazy Rich Asians, the film's director, Jon M. Chu, took to Twitter to address the allegations.
"??Nope," the 40-year-old filmmaker tweeted after a follower shared the article in which Song made the comments. " I love @BrendaSong and that sucks if anything of that nature was ever communicated. It's gross actually. The fact is, obviously I know who she is and didn't need her to audition. I'm a fan of hers! Nothing more nothing less. Bums me out she thought it was anything but."
Chu also reiterated this notion after seeing multiple outlets report on Song's claims.
"Would these words ever come out of my mouth?" he tweeted. "Nope. Makes no sense. I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason. The fact is I love Brenda Song and am a fan. I didn't need her to audition because I already knew who she was!"
In addition, he resurfaced a 2018 article about the movie's open casting call.
"One of my favorite memories of making #CrazyRichAsians was when we opened the auditions to anyone in the world with our open call," he tweeted. "We watched hundreds &hundreds of videos from very talented people from all around the world. Made us tear up many times."
Song made the comments during a recent interview with Teen Vogue. While she said she's a fan of the Kevin Kwan book and asked her managers if she could set up an audition, she said she "never got to read," for a part in the project.
"Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words," she told the magazine. "It broke my heart. I said, ‘This character is in her late to mid-20s, an Asian American, and I can't even audition for it? I've auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you're not going to let me do it? You're going to fault me for having worked my whole life?' I was like, ‘Where do I fit?'"
The Disney Channel star, who played London Tipton on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, said she then decided to take some time off to travel.
"I got myself together and said, ‘Brenda, there is only one you, and you can't change who you are. You can't change your past,'" she said. "I am so grateful for every job that I've done. All I can do is continue to put good auditions out there, do the best that I can—that's all I can ask for."
The movie, which featured an all-Asian cast, starred Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Jeong and more celebrities. According to Forbes, the movie made $26.5 million its opening weekend.