Half-Filipino Darren Criss Doesn’t Identify As Asian-American & Twitter Has Lots Of Opinions!

Darren Criss gets real about his Asian heritage.

In an interview with Vulture last week, the American Crime Story star opens up about playing his first half-Filipino character: serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who murdered at least five people including Gianni Versace in 1997.

Related: Darren Criss Says He’s Entitled To Take ‘One’ Nude Selfie!

Despite being half-Filipino himself, the 31-year-old doesn’t identify as Asian-American.

He told writer E. Alex Jung:

“No. I think that’d be unfair. I think that’d sound like I’m reaching for the minority card on a college application. I think that would be unfair. Yeah, my mom’s Asian-American. She’s from the Philippines and came here and then married a white guy, and here I am. But maybe it’s because of the way I look. Maybe if I looked a little more pan-Asian and I was put in that box then I would be like, ‘Yeah, I identify as Asian-American,’ but maybe because the obstacles that may come up haven’t that I don’t think about it. But that’s a really interesting question. I’ve never thought about that. For better or for worse, I guess not. But I guess I am. What do you think? Am I? On paper I guess I kind of am.”‘

In fact, the Glee alum thinks it is “nice” that he “[looks] like a Caucasian guy.” When asked if being biracial has affected his casting, he responded:

“No. No. I’ve been really happy and really thrilled. I always say one of my favorite things about myself is that I’m half-Filipino but I don’t look like it. It’s always like an ace up my sleeve of like, ‘Oh really? How nuts.’ So it never really has. I just look like a Caucasian guy, which is nice. I’ve got the multiethnic thing going on. People think I’m like Italian or Mediterranean. No, my mom’s very Filipino. I grew up with a Filipino mom. Anybody who’s grown up in that world knows that’s a thing you share.”‘

After the interview was published, Criss clarified his remarks on Twitter by writing:

Just to clarify- 1 of my favorite things about myself is that I’m half Filipino. PERIOD. I happen to not look like it, but THAT fact is not what I like. I like the fact that most people don’t know it’s an ace up my sleeve, an ace I’m very proud of, regardless of what I look like.
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) March 15, 2018

Despite the clarification, social media users had varying opinions regarding Vulture’s piece. Some defended Criss against claims he is denouncing his Filipino roots.

I don’t get this false accusation of Darren Criss “denouncing” his Filipino roots. People are just picking & choosing quotes & making it fit their narrative. Been interviewing him since 2010 & he has ALWAYS spoken about how proud he is of his Pinoy roots.
— Yong Chavez (@yongchavezLA) March 16, 2018

This is fascinating how he grapples with the privilege he’s had being white-passing. I don’t know if I’d agree with everyone else here that he’s renouncing his As-Am heritage, I just think he’s acknowledging how powerful white privilege is.
— Hoai-Tran Bui (@htranbui) March 15, 2018

On the flip side, others thought his comments were “disappointing” and “insulting.”

As a biracial Filipino (half white) with a blonde 1/4 Filipino child I find this deeply disappointing.
— Tanya Guerrero (@guerrerotanya) March 16, 2018

Ah, the LUXURIES of looking more white! As a Filipino, this is deeply disappointing.
— Nix Santos (@nxsnts) March 15, 2018

Wow. He’s completely tone deaf, boasting about basking in all his privilege. Disappointing read.
— Jesus Martinez (@chuigreens) March 15, 2018

He rather use his white privilege and it’s insulting.
— Monica Marie (@mostlikelyklain) March 15, 2018

[Image via FayesVision/WENN.]

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