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"Spider-Man: Homecoming" Director Swats Down Rumor About Michael Barbieri's Role

Responding to growing accusations of whitewashing, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" director Jon Watts has set the record straight: Michael Barbieri isn't playing Marvel Comics character Ganke Lee in the upcoming franchise reboot.

According to the filmmaker, the 14-year-old actor isn't even playing a character based on Miles Morales' Korean-American best friend from "Ultimate Spider-Man."

What The--?! Michael Barbieri was never playing Ganke... no idea how that rumor started... Ok, back to work!!!

- Jon Watts (@jnwtts) June 16, 2016

What The--?! Michael Barbieri was never playing "a version of or a character based on/similar to" Ganke... Ok, back to work for reals now!!!

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- Jon Watts (@jnwtts) June 16, 2016

The rumor that Barbieri would play a character based on Ganke arose as soon as his casting was announced last week, leading to criticisms that Marvel Studios and Sony had selected a white actor for an Asian role (Gizmodo published an essay on Wednesday titled "Marvel's Got an Asian Problem, and It's Not Getting Any Better," which also addressed the controversy surrounding Tilda Swinton's role as the Ancient One in "Doctor Strange").

Opening July 7, 2017, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" stars Tom Holland as Spider-Man, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and Michael Keaton an unnamed villain, with Zendaya in a "key role" as a character named Michelle. The cast also includes Michael Barbieri, Tony Revolori and Kenneth Choi, with Donald Glover in talks to board the film.

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