Racism, Sexism, and Hannibal: Eat The Rude

I’m an American actress and I play Beverly Katz on NBC’s HANNIBAL created by Bryan Fuller. (Spoiler Alert coming right now!!!) And she dies in episode 4 of Season 2. That episode got a lot of positive reviews, but it also incited an on-line storm of vitriol directed to Fuller himself for killing off Katz, or more specifically, for being racist and sexist. I caught wind of this myself via Twitter from our beloved Fannibals. And I thought maybe it’d be productive to talk about rather than ignore it.

Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, women, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz. I rarely if ever see characters like Beverly Katz period. And her last name is Katz for Christ’s sake. Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine writing and casting in my opinion.
As far as “fridging” (killing her off for the sake of advancing the plot or creating “manpain”)… HANNIBAL is based on the Thomas Harris novels and it centers on the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham – two dudes, so that’s where the focus will be and will likely remain. (My guess is that now that their relationship has been well established, there will be opportunity to further develop female characters. One can hope.)
With good writing, every event happens in order to advance the plot and raise the stakes for the characters in the story, so I’m not sure how any character getting killed off is a bad or avoidable thing, especially on a show about a guy who eats people.
Yes, Fuller could’ve kept me on for longer and if he had, my character would’ve probably remained in the background processing crime scenes regurgitating technical exposition. Instead – albeit not for very long – he wrote enough for Katz to make people get to know her a little better, actually identify with her, and like her enough to care when she gets killed. If people can identify with this character regardless of the color of her skin, or like her regardless of her sex without her having to play the qualities we usually see chicks play, then that’s a good thing in my opinion. If you are upset about not believing Katz would be so careless, I agree, though part of the fun of the show is its homage to the horror genre. And finding the writing unrealistic may not be enough damning evidence of racism or sexism.
And let’s take Bella Crawford. She’s a great presence in the story as Jack’s wife despite being a peripheral character, played beautifully and poignantly with great strength by Gina Torres in some of the most moving scenes of the series. Her storyline and possible demise ain’t cheap either. (And she landed a nice solid slap to Hannibal’s mug.)

In addition, what you may not know is that, though Fuller is the creator/writer, supremely respected and highly regarded, there are many other cooks in this kitchen, AKA the producers. Even though Bryan crafted Katz’s death from the get-go for the sake of storytelling – not to gleefully off a minority female – he wanted me to stay on for longer. I wanted to stay on for longer. But we’re not the only ones who have a say about that. And with the other actresses on the show who have left or may be leaving soon, they have other commitments to other projects, so scheduling and availability are other major factors. And don’t forget about the constraints of Father Time and the Almighty Budget. (You’d be shocked to know how amazing this show looks for how little money they put into it.)

Believe me, I would’ve preferred having Katz go down with a fight, but when I brought it up, I was told there was concern around showing Hannibal beating up a woman. I can see why they would be concerned. They were being sensitive not to overdo the violence against women in a story that inherently deals with violence. On the other hand, I also felt like that was sort of akin to relegating a female cop to a desk job rather than sending her out into the field. Isn’t that sort of perpetuating the notion that women are the weaker sex? So I suggested to a couple producers that they mitigate their concerns by having Katz get a good solid shot at him before dying, maybe a kick in the balls or wounding him somehow. But then that poses more issues and problems with maintaining integrity and making sure Hannibal doesn’t get caught too soon, which of course can’t happen, otherwise there’s no show. To be fair, I don’t believe they didn’t listen to me because I’m an Asian or a female. I think they didn’t listen to me because I’m an actor.

Having said all that, I don’t for one second discount or dismiss people’s upset or frustration. There’s a lot of pain out there. First of all, dealing with death, particularly of someone you know (or feel like you know in this instance), is difficult. That’s why we love great TV shows and film and theater and art. We can actually feel our emotions, laugh, cry, and feel connected to one another, right? Secondly, dealing with racism or sexism sucks. I’ve come face-to-face with my fair share of racism AND sexism, especially in this industry. It’s disgusting. It’s humiliating, infuriating, deeply disappointing, and it fucking hurts. When you feel marginalized by the world at large, there’s great comfort and empowerment in seeing someone you can identify with on the screen who isn’t subject to clichés or stereotypes. When that gets taken away, you can feel like you’ve been fucked over once again. And unless you’ve ever been hurt merely due to the color of your skin, what’s between your legs, or who sleeps next to you at night, you probably don’t understand that kind of pain. And anger is usually our first defense against pain. And these are things you can’t physically touch or pin down or throw away or kick the shit out of, arrest and put in jail, so when any form of it might be tangible – like the white, male writer/creator of HANNIBAL – he will become the unfortunate punching bag for a lot of people’s pain.

And if you are one of those people doing the punching, I ask you to consider this: What if he’s on our side? Don’t forget this is network television, not cable. In order to sell those advertising dollars and survive, they want to appeal to the masses of Middle America. Fuller didn’t have to have any women on the show. He didn’t have to have any strong women on the show. He didn’t have to have any diversity on the show. And HANNIBAL is trying to change the antiquated model of television programming, and they’re doing it. Yes, prominent women and diversity should be a bare minimum for all shows, I agree. But one person can’t change the entire industry or the establishment overnight. Certainly there are plenty of white male writers who may have their own agendas, or may not even realize the frame through which they view the world is biased. But I wouldn’t underestimate Bryan Fuller. His entire body of work alone shows that he’s far from ignorant. And I understand some people were upset with his AV Club interview regarding that episode, but don’t mistake his passion for the creative process of writing fiction with any lack of compassion he has in real life.

Now I’m definitely not suggesting any of these issues get dismissed or that anyone should be silenced, or even that Fuller isn’t secretly the most intelligent psychopath of all. I actually don’t really know. But no one of us can change the world or the industry and eradicate racism, sexism, or homophobia alone. And while I don’t think anyone honestly believes a TV show bears the burden of social justice, I do think audiences appreciate seeing a realistic representation of the population. And it is becoming more and more obvious that it’s economically viable and necessary to do so. It’s vitally important to speak your truth, voice your opinions, express your concerns and upset, and more importantly support and praise the things you like and love. And the people who are the decision makers – the network, producers, writers – they will be forced to listen. And if you’re loud enough, they will hear you, and things will change. Though it’s always more effective to do so without getting nasty or disrespectful about it because that only pushes people further away. I’m not sure the people who are directing their anger at Fuller or HANNIBAL aren’t really angry at the old-fashioned ideas cultivated by our society about women and people of color. Let’s talk about it with civility and dignity. I don’t see how attacking anyone to the point where nobody wants to listen to any possibly valid points you’re making is going to lead to any solutions. And at least for me, I just end up feeling even worse.

I’d rather focus on the positive stuff. I got to play this amazing woman who didn’t have to sleep with anyone (not that I would have minded) or act dumb and girlie or fawn all over some guy or be a conniving bitch to get people to notice or respect me, and she didn’t speak broken English or karate chop anyone (not that I would have minded). Nobody called her “dragon lady” or “exotic.” She could shoot a gun and drive that FBI SUV like a champ. And all with the extra added bonus of being Jewish. And when I get messages and thank yous from viewers who dig that or are inspired by that, well, that’s what makes any of this worthwhile or mean anything to me. So thank you for that. I love Beverly Katz. And I loved playing her.

I tend to be forgiving of human imperfection as well as give people the benefit of the doubt. I believe in Bryan Fuller. I believe he’s on our side. And I think it’s pretty awesome that the people who watch HANNIBAL are invested and passionate and intelligent enough to bring these issues to light and make some noise. Maybe this was his design all along. You never know.
PS…I don’t wish to become the target of the vitriol, but I’m probably more guilty of racism and sexism than HANNIBAL or Bryan Fuller. I admit I unabashedly tried to point my ass towards the camera every chance I could get, and I begged them to turn me into an eggroll. Neither attempts were successful.
#GirlPower #YellowFever #RIPBevKatz #FANNIBALSruletheworld #EmbraceYourStrengthsLaughatEachOthersWeaknesses

207 thoughts on “Racism, Sexism, and Hannibal: Eat The Rude

  1. I definitely understand your point and, as a huge fan of Fuller’s past shows, I’m still looking forward to what he has in store for us in Hannibal, but there is still some bitterness within the fandom (myself included) over a strong woman of colour being killed off so soon out of the possible roster when there are already so few well written women of colour on television these days. We understand that change cannot happen overnight but when people who have the power to change things continually tell us that change is coming while taking painfully slow baby steps instead of the larger, powerful steps they’re capable of, it is going to result in a lot of frustrated fans who expect better because they were promised better.
    As a Chinese Canadian myself who grew up wondering why I never saw women who looked like me on TV, I will definitely miss seeing you on my screen and wish you the very best in your future!

    • IA, most of us aren’t even angry tbh. At the end of the day its just a show. But its like it started out so well and I got invested in all these female characters and they died off one by one for male angst. I genuinely think Bev’s death was not done well, or necessary.

      Although IA people are being way OTT about it on twitter and tumblr, As an asian woman it pisses me off when other fans are automatically dismissive.

      • This was my hope, too, Jacqui! My heart was banking on it!!!!! I am soooo sad and devastated that Beverly was killed!!!! Sexism and racism never came to mind!!! My heart was sliced, quite figuratively, that she had to be Hannibal the Cannibal’s victim at all!!!!! I wanted her to be the death knell for his evil and most of all, Will’s vindication! Not as dead, delicious meal Beverly but an active, live, winning FBI agent doing her job and getting her man!!!!!! Shame on everyone that has allowed Beverly to die so soon, too soon!!!!! I can hardly wait for the episode to air tomorrow but with heavy heart and I hope when Hannibal gets caught, it hurts him every breath and beyond to where he can’t bear it but must, as his Reckoning!!!!!!!!! GO WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaghhhhh, why Beverly, why????!!!!!!! Sooooo sad!!!!!!!!

    • I understand you’re frustration, but the problem isn’t with the show per say but in the white serial killer genre. White male serial killers devour the weak–women, minorities, etc. This is part of what makes the white male serial killer subgenre terrifying in the first place. Horror is a genre of fears after all. And to an extent, don’t minorities fear this? Being devoured by selfish white male entitlement?

  2. Reblogged this on and commented:
    An entry that must be read, considering the outbursts lately in the media and the fandom. Do take the time. Hettienne is a smart, beautiful woman and this entry is worthy of your attention.

  3. Thank you, so much for this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I would buy you a beer if that were possible in a not-creepy way.

  4. This was great! I’m going to miss Bev a lot. Are you allowed to tell us if we’ll see her in future episodes, e.g. in hallucinations or dreams? (Some of us just can’t let go!)

  5. Reblogged this on NW Mondo and commented:
    Great post by Hettienne Park who played Beverly Katz on Hannibal. She is a good actress and a great professional who addresses important issues in television as well as the creative process behind the show.

      • I am agree with you, Fuller can´t be sexist or racist because he belongs to a comunity that often is treated very rude, the lesbico-gay comunity. That´is all. At the sametime, the actress who performs Abigail, dissapear in the first season and she is not black or asian. Not racist of other things like this, from Bryan Fuller.

  6. I am so very glad that you responded, and the way you responded. Thank you, I needed it so damn much.

    Hannibal is a show I’ve started watching for the fandom. All those girls and boys, wearing flower crowns, being hilarious, lovely and talented; they welcomed me, and they care about my opinion, about my art and my thoughts. For the first time in a long time, I’ve felt and still feel like being part of a family, a feeling I was looking for in a bunch of fandoms but never found it. It was, it is genuine and nice.
    I’m Hungarian, and I chat with the Hungarian Fannibals on a daily basis, we have picnics almost bi-monthly, and Bryan commented on our picture on twitter once and we were so happy we couldn’t stop screaming “OH MY GOD” – I have so many fantastic memories, and suddenly I feel like someone is trying to take it away from me.

    All this drama is just… so surprising, you know? I feel it came out of the blue. We had disagreements, sure, Team Will vs. Team Hannibal, ship-fights and so, but this stuff now is so dead serious and I feel so powerless.

    I cannot quite comprehend why some Fannibals are so upset. I felt that Beverly was more than her race, more than her gender, that she was a wonderful character by her own right; and I definitely felt she died fighting and that she had to die for a reason, and that reason is not merely to shock the audience. After the episode I was eager to join in a discussion about how her death is a game-changer: no character is safe from now on, since a canonical character died; about her cleverness, about she being the “someone” we all wished to “help Will Graham”, the lady-knight in the shining armour of her genius.

    I hope all of this anger is due of grief and surprise, as you say. And I hope that all of us will find an explanation and a way to accept that terrible things will happen in a horror show; I hope we’ll go back appreciating the fact that Bryan had change the gender and ethnicity of some characters merely because he felt representation would be necessary; but he won’t treat them differently, because they are not different. We are all different and all equal, and again, no one is safe on screen, and it has nothing to do with their gender or ethnicity.

    I am so sorry and so ashamed that our anger had reach the actors and the creators, that we couldn’t talk it off and hug it out between ourselves. I hope it was the first and last time we did this.

    • Really? You cannot comprehend why some Fannibals are upset? I’m sure she’s more than her race and gender, but it does not change the fact that she is an Asian woman. And its always sad to see a well-written WOC get killed. You say we are all equal, but we are not. The fact is, in media, WOC are not represented at all, or even when they are, they are treated as expendable.

      I get that some people are overly aggressive in their anger, and I am genuinely sorry for any creators/actors who feel targeted. But most of us are being very civil in our discussion and expression of disillusionment that a show which seemed to make an effort with regards to diversity sheds its women at such an alarming rate.

      Personal attacks are NOT OK but why are you, and many under Fannibals, so dismissive about people making legitimate points? We care because we are fans of the show and invested in this.

      • Wait, so Johanna can’t complain about the aggressiveness and insults that some “fans” are throwing at Fuller? Did you read the damn article?

      • You’re not making legitimate points, though. She wasn’t killed because she was Asian, or a woman. She was killed because she went into Hannibal’s house and discovered everything. It has nothing to do with race. Every character is expendable, not because they’re a woman, but because it furthers the plot. She’s not going to be put on a pedestal because she’s a minority. That in itself is racism. They’re people. Their race or gender doesn’t matter. Everyone is in danger in Hannibal.

    • “I felt that Beverly was more than her race, more than her gender” – THIS. People who only sees Beverly as a woman from a minority and nothing more are the worst.

      • Gorl did you read my reply. OF COURSE she can complain. I AM complaining about the aggressiveness and the insults. BUT its not ok to be dismissive about the reasons people are upset or why there is “all this drama”. There are legitimate points in their criticisms.

        Also “people who only see Bev as a woman from a minority and nothing more are the worst”? Do you even understand what they are saying? These are often WOC themselves making these criticisms about representation.

        OMFG seriously people are so fucking stupid I cannot even.

    • Thank you for this thoughtful entry. Many of us do appreciate Fuller’s efforts towards diversity and representation but some of the recent creative decision are somewhat disheartening. Nevertheless I am sorry for anyone who felt personally targeted.

      • “HANNIBAL is based on the Thomas Harris novels and it centers on the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham – two dudes, so that’s where the focus will be and will likely remain.”
        They could’ve killed her not so soon? Yes. They could’ve made her death more realistic? I wish they had, but they didn’t. Still, Bryan didn’t have to include Beverly, or Bedelia, or even Abigail at all. (The same with Bella). Inevitably, Beverlu would’ve been killed, or gotten away (it happened with Bedelia), and she could’ve lasted a couple of chapters more. Beverly was of my favorite character, and I am a bit angry, but it had to happen, maybe if the show weren’t based on Hannibal, and was independant…

      • @Juan Devoto

        See the thing is I don’t think it is necessary, narratively speaking. I am glad that Fuller included Bev, Bedelia, Bella and Abigail, that’s why I had the expectation. I do not think I will be as disappointed without this expectation.

        But nothing has to happen. It was a conscious decision on the writers part. She was alive in the Red Dragon, and apparently has a large family, which obv we will never see. Her death is actually a DEPARTURE from the novels.

      • “See the thing is I don’t think it is necessary, narratively speaking.”
        How can you be sure it was not “necessary” when you simply do not know the narration arc of the 13 episodes?
        Besides, in no time in history of writing was anybody sure that any story development is strictly “necessary”. It can satisfy the notion of being convincing and probable, and is then named necessary in early poetics. Nothing in a narration “has” to happen, not even in biopics or historical narratives.

    • Can I just say I love you?? This comment is flawless and just… yes. Thank you. I’m so sick of people whittling actors down to their race and gender, because that’s racist and sexist in it’s own way. I’m sick of it being a commodity or a gimmick, and not a natural process. The show Hannibal has one of the best casts I’ve ever seen on the show, and it’s done in a realistic way. When I first started watching the show, I didn’t know the plot of The Red Dragon until I was five episodes in–my only prior knowledge of Hannibal came from Silence of the Lambs. When I found out so many characters had been tweaked, I was surprised because I seriously couldn’t tell! They were written so well! They didn’t write the characters based around their race or gender, they just wrote them into the show like you always should, and it really makes me sad that Fannibals got so hung up over such an unnecessary issue. But you are like a shining beacon in the dark! Thank you for a beautiful comment!

  7. This is a beautiful response, Hettienne! I loved Beverly, and while I wish her arc could have been a little longer, I understood that sometimes TV writing has to be a little rushed for the practical concerns you addressed. It saddened me to see a lot of people turning on Bryan Fuller, whom I’ve always thought of as a writer who always goes out of his way to champion complex women and their stories. I think he does the same in Hannibal, and I look forward to seeing more.

    And I love that you addressed the real problems of sexism/racism within media without dismissing them. I think it’s definitely a discussion we can have re: Hannibal, because no show is going to portray everything perfectly. But I think it’s doing a great job so far, better than most, and I’m grateful for that. Thanks for writing this beautiful, balanced piece. 🙂

  8. Loved your portrayal of Beverly, and also loved how you handled the controversy. I think Hannibal as a show is fantastically done and while I’m sad to see Bev get retired so soon (really, really sad) I also can’t wait when Hannibal gets caught and found to have someone turn HIM into egg rolls for killing Bev. Once again, great post and great work! 🙂

    – Jessica

  9. Thank you, Hettienne. I didn’t realize Beverly Katz was Jewish, but it makes me even happier to know! I actually went to school with two girls (in two unrelated families) who were adopted from Korea and raised Jewish, so it’s great to see their faces on screen. 🙂 And actually, I was just lamenting yesterday that representation of Jews on tv and film is most relegated to caricatures and humor, and then, it’s mostly men. So, not only did you write an excellent piece that has convinced me that your character’s death is acceptable for the current version of the story, but now I’m all teary-eyed that my fears about the lack of Jewish women on tv are being addressed… and by a great actress, to top it off! I’m sure Hannibal made egg rolls of you off-screen, and I will ardently claim that to be the case to anyone who will listen. 🙂

  10. From what I can understand, a lot of this anger is actually from shock and disappointment, Fuller is setting himself up to be held to a higher standard exactly because of his previous efforts to bring more representation onto the show, his previous statements about the feminism of his work, his desire to avoid sexual violence. The conflict here is twofold, the first being, we got our hopes up. We really thought maybe we would see a show that would resolve women’s plot-lines respectfully and not use their pain to further the feelings of the men who take precedence over them. The second being, Fuller is a white man who has by his own hand positioned himself as an ally to oppressed groups, and we are disappointed. We think he can do better. We think that probably he does not understand just how deep the pain of seeing women’s bodies and their gruesome deaths used as plot fodder goes, how many many many times we’ve had to endure this in media, and how real the violence is for us. For those of us who cannot walk alone at night for fear of rape and murder, Fuller’s gleeful comments about Abigail the “controversial dish”, or Bev being dissected and displayed to provoke an emotional reaction from those who knew her, seem to hint at a lack of understanding of the gendered dynamics of violence in storytelling. Of the way women become objects. And the way he has seemed to respond to this anger only makes us feel more betrayed, because a real ally to an oppressed group listens to and learns from anger, because that anger means harm has been done. That anger means something has gone wrong and whether it was intentional or not it needs to be acknowledged.
    In fact, the anger of the oppressed can be a great teacher for those who are truly our allies, but the women who are critical of media and who once trusted Fuller are beginning to doubt he really cares to learn from us at all.

    (I write this still understanding that this is a horror/crime show and of course there will be murders and a percentage of them will be women, I am not contending that, I am asking that the way the deaths are dealt with in the plot, as well as the way they are discussed by the showrunners, remain respectful and allow the women to remain subject – not object. I would like to also remind everyone, when Clarice Starling went down into a killer’s basement in the dark she emerged victorious, why could Bev have not done the same? Or why would Bev even have done such a rash thing in the first place? These things do not just HAPPEN, someone writes them that way. They could have written it differently.)

      • Hey! My twitter SHOULD be private so I don’t know if you can see replies but I said basically “thank you and check out my tumblr I’ve been really digging into this subject (mostly via reblogs) tumblrname “ladiesfeels”. Also hi nice to meet you! Send me a message if you have a tumblr I’ll check you out.

    • I think it’s worth pointing out that if you take a look at Fuller’s supporting cast, particularly those we’re most invested in, he had little choice but to use a female character. Which is good overall, but perhaps bad in this situation. Price and Zeller have up to this point been seen as lab techs and/or comic relief. We may or may not like them but the show hasn’t given them much to do. With those exceptions, we have Chilton (already victimized), Abel Gideon (in prison still apparently), Alana, Beverly, Bedelia, and Freddie. Those female characters have been given much better material than the male characters have had. Beverly has been extremely important and I would say well developed. I’d go so far to say she was my favorite character. That’s all to the good for women and women of color. She was far from an object. If that were the case (or if Price or Zeller had been used) we wouldn’t have cared nearly as much. But her death, while maybe a little forced in terms of story, has emotional weight which is what any storyteller is looking for. He’s not making these decisions from the standpoint of addressing social ills, but from a creative perspective. I do think creators have some responsibility to address societal ills, but the way to do that is through creating good solid characters. As a creator I think it would be wrong, though, to plan your story with those external issues in mind. What makes sense for the story may conflict with what is perceived as good by the audience, and that seems to be case from Fuller’s perspective here.

      I do think the show has also played fair. Almost all the killers have been white males. While this implies a position of power, it’s certainly not flattering and falls along another negative stereotype often depicted and promoted in the horror genre. Garrett Jacob Hobbs killed young women exclusively, but since then the victims have run the gamut in terms of gender and race. We’ve felt the weight of those deaths to varying degrees. I empathized quite a bit with Georgia Madchen, but never came to know much about the mushroom man’s victims. The story demands different things at different times.

      None of that is to suggest we can make a scorecard for the show and resolve/answer these concerns. Rather it’s to say that Fuller has shown an ability and inclination to write fully formed, intelligent, and important female characters. I see no reason to expect that it won’t continue. If Fuller gets the years that he wants, we know from what he has said that at a minimum we’ll have Clarice (or some equivalent) as a lead or co-lead, and I suspect that’s only scratching the surface.

    • Bryan Fuller should not be blamed for someone’s fears. Especially if you are not exaggerating when you claim that you do not walk on the streets at night for fear of being raped and murdered. Why is there a serious expectation to address those kinds of fears through adjusting his own writing? His job is to tell a story he wants to tell, not to assuage some societal “wrong” , that quite frankly, does not even seem true for any woman I know, including myself. If I was that scared of streets at night, I would first analyse myself, not blame society, and especially not blame an artist for his vision that proves, in the past 18 episodes, that it is simply not a part of the paradigm you are alluding to…

  11. As someone who is usually very sensitive about the deaths of characters who are women and WOCs, I have to say, as much as I love Beverly, her death make sense story-wise. Sure, I’d have loved for her to stick around, because she was pretty flawless and it’s always a treat getting to watch talent like yourself, Hettienne, work, but with a story like this, death is inevitable. You were phenomenal in the role and I hope you continue writing on this blog too.

  12. “…and I begged them to turn me into an eggroll” OH MY GOD XDDDD I’m so sorry this didn’t happen. I hope the next round of Hannibal merch features Ms. Park’s face on an eggroll to vindicate her wishes.

    Joking aside though, I am so glad she took the time to write this as she’s basically the only person qualified to end the… um, lively discussion going on. I had not even considered any racism or sexism in Katz’s death until the commotion started, but I have to agree with every point Park has said. I would only like to add this:
    While it is upsetting that the first ‘important’ people Hannibal’s killed have both been women, both deaths were indispensable to the plot. Framing Will for Abigail’s death creates the ENTIRE bind he’s in right now and not even the most stringent feminist could argue there was a way around that and the death of Beverly, though unfortunate, is equally crucial for the trail leading to Hannibal’s… discovery. Yes, they could have used one of the two remaining male members of the team, but that would have required all the previous episodes being about Will talking to another dude for a good percentage of screen time and not seeing Beverly at all. Would that not be perpetuating sexist stereotypes more than killing her off?

    And all the female characters featured have been interesting, strong, nuanced characters with genuine personalities and histories and they all make different choices and are shown exhibiting those choices. Even if they must die, and this IS a show about a dude who eats people, at least they die as PEOPLE, not as images. Too many mainstream shows currently don’t give women that courtesy. I use this word sarcastically.

    • “Yes, they could have used one of the two remaining male members of the team, but that would have required all the previous episodes being about Will talking to another dude for a good percentage of screen time and not seeing Beverly at all. ”

      Yeah, this is an important point. I tried to think of an alternative where one of the male characters was the victim, but that would require Zeller doing a 180 face turn after being a thorn in Will’s side the entire series, or Jimmy Price suddenly becoming an energetic go-getter instead of a jaded functional alcoholic. Both would just give more screen time to a man on a show that is always essentially going to be about the drama between two guys, unless Bryan has something awesome planned for Margot, Alana, and Molly (I hope he does).

      • /\ Exactly this. Beverly was the only member of the team working on Will’s case, the only one suspicious of Hannibal, the only one who WOULD have walked into that basement. Hannibal knew that, and knew how sharp she was, which was why he dropped a lead to a clue he knew she’d go after. I regret like hell that we’ve lost her, and I do get the frustration and anger – AND it irritates me that the dark-basement thriller trope took precedence over what should have been her good sense and caution – but I do not think it was at all a disrespectful death. It wasn’t exploited or played for sensation, and she went down shooting.

  13. I was watching that episode on Friday and I was so upset that your character died. I’m looking forward to seeing how Will and the others react to losing Katz. I also have to agree with you: the show is trying to change how TV is done, and while it’s terrible that your character had to go, I’m sure other female characters, just as strong and just as diverse, will come on the show. Heck, I’m still holding up for a guest appearance of Lady Murasaki this season. And Clarice Starling, much as I think she’s an underdeveloped and slightly annoying character, will show up at some point. Hopefully she’ll be portrayed in a way that won’t annoy me.

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  16. Reblogged this on Annabelle Rambles and commented:
    The amazing Hettiene Park provides some excellent insight into the recent controversy of [SPOILERS] Beverley Katz’s death on NBC’s Hannibal.

    As I wrote in my comment, while I understand her point and continue to look forward to what Fuller has in store for us in future episodes of Hannibal, there is still some bitterness within the fandom (myself included) after seeing a strong woman of colour being killed off so soon out of the possible roster of characters when there are already so few well written WoCs on television these days.

    Change, like Park says, can’t happen overnight. Yet, when people who have the power to change the status quo continually tell us, “It’s happening! Change is happening!” while taking painfully slow baby steps instead of the larger, more effective steps they are capable of, it is going to result in a lot of frustrated fans who expect better because they were promised better.

    I will continue to watch Hannibal because I believe Fuller, with his impressive portfolio of feminist shows, genuinely has a good, progressive story to tell (you know, in between all the delicious horror–pun intended). I’m not asking those in power to change the system overnight; I’m telling them to do better. If they want to prove that they can do better, then show us. We’re waiting.

  17. This was very insightful, Hettienne, and it’s certainly made me approach my disappointment in a new way. I thank you for taking the time to voice your thoughts and concerns in a mature, concise, and respectful manner. I just have to say, I wish Bryan had done the same. Some of his responses to fans on twitter have come off as quite condescending and it’s so upsetting to see, because showrunners have a long, sad history of brushing aside issues and reacting poorly to fans, and I believe Bryan Fuller is above that, so I hope he takes time to reflect and approach this situation a little differently. I completely acknowledge that some fans are expressing their disdain in a poor manner and being excessively cruel to Bryan won’t help anything, but acknowledgement on Bryan’s part can go a very long way in rectifying this situation. I, like you, believe in Bryan and his abilities, and I hope he addresses this and doesn’t let us down.

  18. Hettienne, you’re a great actor, and I’ll miss Beverley’s wit and dimension and general badassery a lot. Thanks so much for this awesome essay, and for tackling all the issues without belittling or silencing the fans. You’d think that would be common courtesy, but a lot of actors and other industry people don’t get it.

    I do rather wish that maybe one of the other science guys had been killed off, but honestly, Beverly was the most developed one, so I do get that it made the most sense at this stage. Fortunately, the show has shown so much respect for all the characters that I don’t think we can even cry “Black Dude Dies First (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlackDudeDiesFirst)” trope with any real accuracy, although, as with all tropes, Your Mileage May Vary.

    Still, I think part of the hurt comes from the fact that we haven’t seen as many characters of color on the show as we’d like. Bryan has done some awesome things with diversity and I know it’s an uphill battle, but once that happens, you start to hope for, and expect, more. You start to realize that there is one (1) Asian person, one (1) black man, and one (1) black woman (married to the black man, of course), and that none of the new cast members coming up are of color (I don’t think; I could be wrong). Plus, Bella soon won’t be around, I’m guessing, and if that jugular wound for Jack in the finale is fatal… well. Even if it’s not, he’ll be the only person of color in the main cast left. The diversity- and by extension character richness- goes down a lot.

    This is a bit of a rehash of what you said, but thanks again! I’m not angry at Bryan or even the production and I never was, but put out with the system in general. I’m still really looking forward (in a really masochistic way! oh please help) to whatever Hannibal dishes out for the rest of its hopefully long run. However, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to hope for more gender and racial diversity from here on out! And don’t spoil me, but I hope they keep you on for flashbacks and ghosty guilt scenes 🙂

  19. Rather spend energy defending Fuller, state how you felt playing the role which was ” I got to play this amazing woman who didn’t have to sleep with anyone (not that I would have minded) or act dumb and girlie or fawn all over some guy or be a conniving bitch to get people to notice or respect me, and she didn’t speak broken English or karate chop anyone (not that I would have minded). Nobody called her “dragon lady” or “exotic.” She could shoot a gun and drive that FBI SUV like a champ. And all with the extra added bonus of being Jewish. ”

    To me, that was the positive statement.
    No I haven’t seen the show yet. I don’t have a tv and don’t make much effort to watch tv on my computer. yea, I know. Do I feel poorer for it? No.

  20. Ms. Park – I will watch everything and anything you are on in the future!! you are an amazing woman/actress- because when I watched you on Hannibal – I never thought hey the Asian chick, it was how does Bev put up with those two jokers.

  21. Thanks for this, Hettienne. It was a really great read. Although I didn’t want to think of it that way, having been a huge fan of the Hannibal franchise for however many years, as an Asian-American woman, I also couldn’t help but wonder if my favorite character’s demise wasn’t maybe a little bit racist. This post made me feel a lot better about the show. I still wish Bev didn’t have to go, because she’s amazing and she’s supposed to be around for the events of Red Dragon, wtf!!! But knowing that you yourself don’t believe there was racism or sexism behind the decision is… uplifting. I’m looking forward to the next episode of Hannibal, and whatever work you churn out in the future! Best wishes, dear!

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  23. Reblogged this on Dsbs42's Blog and commented:
    This actor, with this piece, has convinced me to not only watch Hannibal, but also everything she’s ever in, ever. It’s thoughtful, sensible, intelligent, and passionate. If you’re interested in the fridging of ladies and minorities, and the privileged white hetero male show-runner, please read this.

  24. Hi Hettienne! First off, I wanted to say that the real root of my sadness over Beverly’s demise is that you won’t be on the show any more. Those of us who live-tweet the show every week love to chat with you and love your jokes, and I, for one, will sincerely miss your presence on Hannibal.

    Thank you for such an intelligent and empathetic response — I’m glad to know that you share some of our feelings, understand why we feel them, and are able to articulate clearly that there are still issues with representation that one woman or man or person or fandom cannot solve alone. I’m glad that you found a lot of fulfillment and happiness playing Beverly Katz. We all obviously enjoyed your performance; otherwise, we wouldn’t be so upset that she’s dead! I know that she was very popular on a show full of charismatic and amazing actors and characters, so the fact that you stood out is a real testament to her character and your abilities as an actress. I never felt that Beverly was window-dressing; I always wanted to know more about her, and it’s sad that we’ll never get the chance now.

    I wanted to specifically address your point about Beverly physically confronting Hannibal, as this is an important detail. I’m very happy to hear that you advocated for Beverly not to go down without a fight, and I am saddened to hear that your input was disregarded. I think many fans would have liked to see Beverly fight for her life and do some injury to Hannibal in the process — even though we know she’ll lose, it’s nonetheless important to see her go down fighting, if she’s got to go down at all. It still doesn’t make sense to me that Hannibal can do terrible things to women (as he does to everyone), but showing him actually doing those horrible things is somehow worthy of censorship? I understand that the people behind the show are sensitive to issues of violence against women and I am grateful for that, but the fact is that one of the show’s central characters perpetrates terrible acts of violence against women, and that is still glossed over. I completely understand the theory behind it — I, for one, am tired of seeing victimized women in film and television and print media — but the problem with not showing it is that it fails to really resonate. It stays in the abstract rather than the concrete. (Maybe it will become more concrete, as the depths of Hannibal’s depravity are more deeply mined.) I don’t know how to solve this, but I’m grateful that you at least made the attempt and understood the significance of having Beverly fight the monster.

    Thank you again for your wonderful and thoughtful response. I wish you the best of luck in your future roles! I hope your role on Hannibal opens more doors for you and that we’ll see you again soon.

  25. Reblogged this on Zombie Chicken Juice and commented:
    Somehow, a show that features precisely as many female characters as male characters, and more minorities among the ladies than the men, caught a boatload of sexism/racism accusations for killing off a character. Thank gawd Hetienne Park, the actor whose character got axed, is less confused about the issue than I am – she ‘splains it in ways I’d never have thought of on my own.

  26. Very insightful. Katz was a great character and Fuller is trying his best to be true to the source material and I am glad he is adding minorities and women to this should even though he could have easily made everyone white. I’ll be sure to share this.

  27. Thank you so much for this post. Thank you for understanding why some fans are angry, and also understanding that this needed to be addressed to rather than be ignored.
    As a Korean woman, I did not think Bev’s death was in any way sexist or racist, although it was disappointing to see such a great character go. I completely respect and trust your opinion on the matter. Thank you.

  28. “And if you are one of those people doing the punching, I ask you to consider this: What if he’s on our side? Don’t forget this is network television, not cable. In order to sell those advertising dollars and survive, they want to appeal to the masses of Middle America. Fuller didn’t have to have any women on the show. He didn’t have to have any strong women on the show. He didn’t have to have any diversity on the show.”

    This is an outdated view of Middle America even by antiquated TV standards. There isn’t one TV show I watch that doesn’t have at least one person of color and one woman. They aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. They do it for higher ratings. Studies have shown that TV shows with a higher percentage of minorities have more eyeballs watching them. I hope no one here lets anyone make them feel like they are doing them a favor simply because they were hired for a job. It isn’t charity.

    When a self-described feminist, not only chooses a concept that necessitates the repeated brutalization of women, but also fails to keep one woman alive in his main cast, he and the network he works for show themselves to be more backward than most dramas of this caliber on air today.

    Stories don’t birth themselves from the ether of their own accord. The creative process isn’t that magical. There is no one way to write a good story. I for one have no room for TV shows that have no room for me. You are free to look out for your professional interests but it is more than that for me. Our interests do not align and that is OK

    “As far as “fridging” (killing her off for the sake of advancing the plot or creating “manpain”)… HANNIBAL is based on the Thomas Harris novels and it centers on the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham – two dudes, so that’s where the focus will be and will likely remain. ”

    Quite a few women managed to survive in those books.

  29. Pingback: When It’s Easier to Blame the Writer…Don’t | Love, Sex & Other Dirty Words

  30. I knew they would kill you….you were believing Will…! But I am sad….I have to say, I love the show…Mads..is the creepiest of creepy guys and I love him….and big crush on Hugh Fancy…yummy!

  31. I’m just going to miss Beverly SOOOO much. Beautiful, intelligent, just an all-around great character on Hannibal, aka THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION. As to the issues she brings up, I’m also sensitive to those things, though certainly from a different perspective since I’m a white male. I have six sisters and three brothers. Five of my sisters and two of my brothers are Asians. Before these wonderful children became a part of my family, I never thought a lot about sexism or racism. I was certainly against both, but my sister was the strongest person I knew and we never directly dealt with anything racist. Since they’ve been in our family, I find myself in the midst of it more and more, especially racism. Having Asian brothers and sisters has led me to examine racism much more closely, and despise it much more passionately. I was never okay with it, but having not dealt with it for many years my disgust for it was very detached. That has all changed. I’m very sensitive when it comes to my siblings, especially the younger ones who are all Asian. They went through so much before my family adopted them, and when those with ugliness in their hearts try to make things difficult for them now, I find myself ready to pounce on them. I try often to discount their words or thoughts as just ignorance and/or stupidity, but it’s difficult not to want to just knock their lights out. So I do understand why people may have reacted a certain way to Beverly’s demise, but ultimately, in this case, I disagree with them. This is a horror show, and as Hettienne Park said, it is often paying homage to certain horror elements. While it was gut-wrenching and awful to see my favorite female on the show go down, and as terrible as the loss of such an amazing character is, I think the writers handled it wonderfully, just like they have the rest of this amazing show. I’ll miss you Beverly!

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  33. Thank you for addressing this Hettienne 🙂 I was hoping you would with seeing all the backlash at Bryan. I myself, do no believe that the death of Katz was either racist or sexist. Just my personal opinion. Was definitely shocked though and sad to see her go.

  34. “The tragedy is not to die… but to be wasted”. I think your character was not wasted at all. I am sorry we will not be seeing a lot more of Beverly, of course, but the fact that your character was so fantastic adds to the tragedy of her death… and that makes the show better. Imho.

    Thanks a lot for playing Beverly so well and for writing this blog post. You totally rule, Miss Park.

  35. That was a pretty sweet write up and you come across as pretty damned likable to boot. 🙂 I thought your character was great, and while I was saddened you had to go, I gotta say that episode absolutely gripped me, horror cliches be damned. I also think that Hannibal is the most pleasant surprise in recent years, and an excellent edition to have on your cv. Good luck in your next project and hopefully we’ll see you again in a flashback episode. 🙂
    Cheers Hetienne and great write up again.

  36. I really appreciate your honesty about this situation. I’m a budding publicist for a new Latina singer songwriter and I really have found how unfair her industry can be. Thank you for your account and look forward to seeing you in wonderful new projects very soon!

  37. Reblogged this on Perks and Peeves and commented:
    A brilliant response to some foolish criticisms. Hannibal is a feminist program – when did you last see a female corpse sexualised, or violence sexualized in Hannibal? You don’t. Instead, violence is objective and cold, never gratuitous but still beautifully shot and shown. Glorification it is not, nor is it sexist, racist or any other ist. Hannibal has a fair share or everything, you can’t say killing a female is sexist. Saying that is sexist, as you are suggesting men are only subject to violence, while women transcend it. A feminist program focuses on equality – male and female characters have their screentime, and they are all treated equally by the violent, nasty world around them.

  38. i must confess i was heartbroken to see bev die… in fact i mourned her death over the weekend…for the reasons mentioned above… as an Asian, it was a joy to see an non stereotypical portrayal.i keep hoping she is still alive in his closet but after reading this article i have to accept her death… and the fact that we wont see you again on the show alive and kicking…. but good luck to you in your career … i will be looking out for your new projects… nb i’m going to live in denial until the next episode…

  39. What a refreshing article…Hannibal is certainly playing by its own rules as is the very talented introspective, talented, intelligent and lovely Hettienne Park. Here’s to finding work in this tough industry especially for Asians!

  40. You guys have a lot to overcome out in Hollywood. I’ve been telling people we need to pray for our storytellers. Stories are powerful. There’s no end to what a good story—a well-made film, tv series, novel, whatever—can accomplish. I think the important thing is to keep doing your part the best you can every day, and have faith in God to work the rest out in the best way possible.

  41. Really enjoyed reading this. It brings out both points and stays positive.

    It also makes me angry when people make a big deal out of something that’s not. Such as when someone is killed it’s automatically racist or sexist…. When it probably wasn’t.

  42. Hi Ms Park,

    Thank you so much for the letter of clarification and insight into the situation. I appreciate the spirit if not the letter of what is being communicated, and I both agree and disagree with your opinion. As an Asian woman, yes it hurts to see representation of me blotted off the screen and I agree Bev’s death was not directly motivated by sexism or racism either, but I’m hard-pressed to argue that it doesn’t fit into or contribute to an overall cultural narrative Hannibal is desperately trying to argue it does not advance.

    Additionally, as an alumna of Hopkins (lol fellow alumni with Dr. Lecter!!) and someone who’s lived, studied, and worked in the Baltimore area for quite a while, I can attest that the city is not nearly as ubiquitously white as it appears on the series. I appreciate Bryan Fuller’s attempt to diversify the cast — with your casting and Lawrence Fishbourne (and the lovely Gina Torres, though I will have to disagree on your commentary about Bella’s role), but — and I apologize for the upcoming horrible series of puns — it pales in comparison to the actual diversity and majority-black population of the real Baltimore. While the specific incident of killing off Bev, a WOC, was not directly racist or sexist, the act killing off women/POCs for the sake of advancing a traditionally white, male narrative IS the concern of a lot of people. It’s taking Wite-Out to a cast that is already disproportionately white, male, and unrepresentative.

    If you have an opportunity to talk to Bryan again, I do hope you’ll relay our concerns as he seems quite reasonable and understanding. Bev’s touch of brightness and color to the Hannibal cast will be missed. Thank you for your hard work and I wish you the best.

  43. I was so glad to read this article – thank you for writing it and for giving us your perspective on the matter. You are, really, the best qualified to comment on it, after all!

    I have to admit the vitriol I saw on some tumblr blogs after the event shocked me. I even saw one person say some really frightening things that I only put aside as hyperbole after she also commented that she was drunk.

    I have to agree that there really was no way for one of the male characters on the team to be the victim without a) intrinsically changing either one of those characters from a significant amount of prior development and b) turning all of Will’s talks with Beverly into talks between two men, which then would have relegated Beverly to the background, and that’s exactly what we didn’t want to happen in the first place!. Yes, Beverly was the victim, but it’s because Beverly didn’t stay in the background as strictly supporting cast. She got out in front and had an active role and was a vital and important character. And as long as TV remains the Old Boys Club that it is, we’re lucky we got that much. I know losing her hurts, and it is a shame that we have one fewer WOC on TV now, but at least she got to be a real person before that happened!

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  45. Once the initial sting wears off on the complainers, I hope that they see the bigger picture and understand how richly Bev’s character was developed. It’s a question of quality over quantity, and the complainers are unwittingly framing their vitriol under the guise of WHY when in my opinion they’re really mad about WHEN. To that, I say that there’s simply no reason to believe that Bev’s character and Hetienne’s performance is diminished because of the “early” #KATZtastrophe. This was a kick-ass character played by a kick-ass actor on a kick-ass show…

  46. TV is a business, and like all businesses, they try to maximize their return. That means, beyond plot and characters, viewer demographics and ad potential are important, or you have no show.

    I’ve never seen this show, and have no idea who you are, but good for you that you had that opportunity, tried to make your case, and are not bitter.

    Best of luck to you in the future, and by luck, I mean those things we do to create opportunities for ourselves.

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  48. (English isn’t my native language so please forgive me if my grammar is a little… creative.)
    Thank you for writing this! It was a really great read and I think that it’s important to point out that writers don’t make all the decisions and that it was in no way intended to be as upsetting as it ended up being for some fans. However, I also think it’s also really important for writers (especially writers who say they are feminists and want to write progressive stories) to try and understand why fans are upset. I honestly believe that being more open to discussing these things and learning more about tropes/narratives that are considered sexist/racist/etc could only improve the show.

    The reason some people are so incredibly upset with Bryan Fuller right now is that everything just… changed really fast. The show had a decent amount of interesting, well written women. Fuller talked a lot about how he wanted to have more women on the show then there were in the book, about how he wanted to avoid exploiting sexual violence, about how delighted he was with the female fans. It was great. Okay, a few minor female characters died, but so did some men.
    Then Abigail died. Some people were mad about that, some people weren’t, some people decided that she was still alive and would turn up in a later season. And now, Abigail is (very-probably-)dead, Beverly is dead, Bella is dying (which means that the shows only women of colour are either dead or dying), Bedelia left (yes, she will return… but Hannibal wanted to kill her, so can we be sure she will survive her return?), Freddie lives but will most likely die some day because of what happens in Red Dragon, and from what we’ve seen from the trailers, Alana is the one standing between Hannibal Lecter and his chance of escape in the season finale – which looks very, very bad for her. Can you blame people for seeing a pattern here? Can you blame them for being uncomfortable with it?

    Is it reasonable to expect some deaths in a horror show about a serial killer? Yes. However, it’s also reasonable to be shocked when a show that wants to be feminist/progressive kills off two of its most important female characters in only 5 episodes. People want to know why this show has a lot of female fans? Well, for all kinds of reasons, obviously, but one of them being that it was really nice to see a horror show (not a genre known for being very female friendly) where women and people of colour were complex, important and interesting. We’re not just here for Will and Hannibal, and even if they are the main focus of the show, there is no reason why secondary characters can’t have their own arcs and, you know, survive scary and awful things. It’s not just this show. It’s a lot of shows, a lot of movies and books too, actually. People were just hoping that this show would be different, and while the show gets some really important things right, right now, a lot of (feminist) fans believe it’s very close to getting a lot of things wrong.

    I don’t have twitter, so I don’t know exactly what happened. I can imagine that some of the anger came across as hateful and that’s not okay – however: the criticisms themselves are worth listening to, especially for a showrunner who describes himself as a feminist. So what upset me the most, I think, was reading the a lot of fans felt like Fuller dismissed their feelings rather listening to them. I understand that twitter isn’t a great place for nuanced discussion, but that doesn’t mean this should not be discussed at all. I want to believe that Bryan Fuller is on our side. I really believe that he wants and tries to be on our side. But that’s harder to believe when someone is only prepared to discuss the flaws in, for example, horror fiction in general, but not those in his own work. I don’t think tv show writers have to listen to all the fans, all the time. That wouldn’t work, obviously. But it’s so easy to communicate with the fanbase these days, why not use that for good? I’m sure there are fans who can discuss this in a respectful, open-minded way.

    I see how it made sense for the writers to kill Katz – however, I can also think of ways it could have been avoided. If you asked me a few years ago, I couldn’t have, but now I can. Why? Because I read some of those things written by angry, disappointed fans of this show, of other shows, or just of fiction in general. I learned a lot about sexist narratives and tropes. Do I agree with everything I read? No. Was I upset at seeing someone tear apart some of my favorite shows or books? Yes – so I can imagine that it’s difficult for writers to deal with those fans, it must be much harder/feel more personal when it’s something you worked on yourself. I understand that. I also understand that it is incredibly important, however, to understand the problems in works of fiction that you love and especially the ones you create. If we don’t do that, things can’t change. I know from experience that it takes a while to understand these things, and even just to learn that there are things to learn and understand (‘But I respect everyone, how could anything I do be considered sexist or racist when I so obviously don’t mean it to be? It’s probably just a misunderstanding’’) so I don’t blame Fuller for not responding the way fans hoped he would. I do, however, think it’s reasonable to expect someone who has been very enthusiastic about his fandom, who has said he considers himself a feminist and has shown to be capable of writing progressive characters and stories, to at least be open to discussion and new information when a lot of feminist fans tell him there are things he doesn’t know/understand. A lot of the people who criticized Bev’s death and the way it was/will be handled on the show, are people who spend a lot of time studying feminist/progressive and sexist/racist narratives and tropes in fiction. What I’m trying to say is: even though some of those people might underestimate how hard it can be to understand/change these things, in most cases they know what they are talking about. They might not know more about writing and running shows as a whole, but in most cases they DO often know more about sexist/racist/etcetera narratives and clichés in fiction – so it’s worth listening to them. A lot of people thought Fuller WOULD listen to them, because he has been so supportive of the fanbase in the past. It would be so great if he took this as an opportunity find out what it is that upsets people about decisions like this, rather than just show support of the happy, fun part of the fandom. Just, please, listen to those fans (not the disrespectful ones, obviously). It won’t do any harm, and it might do some good.

    I’m sorry I didn’t mean to write an entire novel in the comments! I don’t even know if anyone even reads this anymore, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I wanted to share my thoughts.

  49. Pingback: Hettienne Park Responds to HANNIBAL Fans’ Accusations of Racism, Sexism « Nerdist

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  51. I’m wondering if you shouldn’t be on the other side of the table and be a writer yourself; that was a rock solid post that would be the envy of many another playwright. Sorry I was late to the Bev Katz train (though I suppose I’ve been on the Hettienne Park train since SEMINAR).

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  53. This was a wonderful read – thank you for taking the time and thank you for your wonderful portrayal of Beverly Katz! 🙂

    My first reaction was one of disappointment but now I can see that was largely orchestrated by Byran Fuller – I guess he wanted us to embrace Beverly and care for her so that her imminent demise would be all the more shocking. It worked, so now we all know the cue for the next person to go, right? The next one to get pally-pally with Hannibal or be extra snoopy around him is defo gonna get it. We are on to you Fuller, mwahaha…

    Being Asian I used to be disappointed of how Asians were treated in the media. Take Jackie Chan for instance – a martial arts master, with great acting skills and a supremely respected director in Hong Kong – but on his first foray onto American screens (Cannonball Run) he was made to act like a monkey and a clown. Things have come a long way since then – Chow Yun Fat has made it on to the big screen in some great roles, Michelle Yau and Lucy Liu in some pretty good blockbusters. Also not forgetting Katie Leung in Harry Potter. And there is TV – Sandra Oh in Grey’s Anatomy and Steven Yeun – who is (STILL) surviving the Walking Dead. People of Asian descent are getting recognised and included and this is great. But to say there is a long way to go, is a question.

    Dead cert, -isms exist. I’m not in showbusiness but it is everywhere, I don’t dismiss that. But to say Asians, Women, People of colour, NEED to have in a top role, all the time, everytime, is overkill. Surely, the role should be appropriate for the story? Hannibal – let’s face it – is about a rich white man who fancies himself as top of the food chain. There is the story, there is the setting and other characters need to be worked around that. I see nothing wrong with that.

    I think what is really needed are refreshing new ideas for stories coming from a wide range of perspectives than what we have been used to. Even if you don’t agree with what I have written so far, you must agree that there has been a constant rehashing and re-re-rehashing of old stories. I mean honestly, how many ways can a man be bit by a spider, or be spooked by a flying mouse? Sadly, Hannibal kinda falls under this category too – let’s not forget the efforts of the great Anthony Hopkins. What we need are good quality and completely new stories told by a wide range of people: abled and disabled, of any colour and creed and of any gender – to be heard, showcased and celebrated. In this sense, there is a long way to go. Storytelling needs to evolve.

  54. #(not that I would have minded )
    I have to respect what actors and actresses go thru , as that I am in the middle of a Movie shoot now as just an Extra , but a Constant Extra , 2 months worth of shooting here in Japan , then the crew goes off to Canada to finish the story . But the schedule and depth of “Tired ” at the end of a 3 day stretch , is remarkable indeed , so the point of the Plot , or Keeping the Story where it has to go , yeah that means something indeed , I am fortunate as that even as an Extra I am getting face time , in the frame Major parts in a Movie that actually deals with Racism on a Major level . It will be out in Dec . 2014
    and that is really All I can say at the moment , but it goes straight to the big screen , not TV . My First time in a Movie . And it is a strange feeling indeed.

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  58. People, get this, Beverly’s death was probably the catalyst for all the events that will eventually put Hannibal behind bars (or glass), they didn’t do it just for the shock, or for the cliffhanger (although it was a pretty fucking great cliffhanger), they did it because it was relevant for the story to continue. Yes, they could have killed her later, but what’s the point of complaining if they were going to kill her anyway? Why drag things out? Beverly’s death mattered, it wasn’t just a shocker, it really changed the course of the story for good, we are lucky enough to watch the best show on television unravel in front of us.

  59. Coincidentally, I have a friend who is Korean-Jewish. It’s not a completely implausible ethnic combination, especially for Hawaii where everyone’s mixed-race.
    Everything — Bev’s close, platonic friendship with Will — from episode two where she helped him with his gun stance — led up to her being the first casualty of Will’s war with Hannibal. I loved the character, and was sort of afraid of how it would be presented, but DAMN! That death tableau was incredible, and I am sure that Hannibal’s twisted mind sees an honor in that display.

    (BTW, I just got to the open and had to stop to see comments on it.)

  60. I wish Beverly Katz wasn’t written just for her to die. That is cruel and lots of things need to change because why do television producers think the audience wants to see that happen after we made an emotional link? And she was a women of colour and her death was used only to fuel male characters’ anguish. Basically, Fuller acknowledged everything wrong in the industry with the way women are portrayed and he went ahead and fridged Beverly Katz anyway.

    I understand why you would defend Bryan Fuller but he could’ve made better choices. He could have responded to fans in a manner more befitting. I feel like it was our fault thinking Hannibal is a great show that made better choices than the rest of other cop shows out there. I feel like he didn’t know what he was talking about when he self-proclaimed he was a feminist. Fool us once, shame on me…fool us twice…

    I feel really disillusioned but I’ll keep watching because truth be told, I’m not done until I see Hannibal Lecter suffer endlessly for every single thing he’s done to Beverly. Her mutilation was unforgivable and that was just about the most horrific thing I’ve seen on television.

    • Television is drama, in order for drama to exist bad things have to happen… I think alot of a Television writer’s job is to not give people what they want. If you’re never fearing for a character’s life, if everything is how fun and happy these characters are then we’d have the most boring television series ever. Pandering to the audience always leads to bad writing, it’s writing by committee. A good TV series should give you joy and you should be cheering the characters on. But it should also make you angry, make you sad, and being a horror series, horrify you.

      I’m Chinese myself and I’m pretty much fine with Beverly’s death, it didn’t feel cheap. She got close to finding out who Hannibal was. So the other possible story options were either that she gets on the wrong trail again and wastes valuable screen-time on a dead end. Or she exposes Hannibal, which give things away too early.

      Beverly’s a cop and cops die in the line of duty sometimes and in this series the only characters who aren’t expendable are Will and Hannibal. It’s enough for me that she was a well-written competent character. I’ll see what the ultimate shape of the story will be before judging.

  61. I have lost track of Hannibal since the new season started but whatever I saw in the first season I loved it.
    And they killed you!
    But at the end of the day what I would say is this, your character was not another good for nothing, only for glamour kind.
    So what I would say is this your character was killed but I think the only reason is to improve the story.
    No racism, no sexism.
    Just story.

  62. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    Hettienne Park wrote this articulate, thoughtful piece on her personal blog to respond to the anger from fans that her character was killed off. People were ANGRY at Bryan Fuller, accusing him of killing off her character because she was a female of color and therefore expendable. Read Ms. Park’s very well-written side here!

  63. Pingback: Tube Talk: Hannibal: Mukozuke | Starman Cinema down on Mockingbird Lane

  64. Hettienne Park can underplay a scene like Jeremy Renner, communicate compassion like Mary McDonnell, and play hard confidence without reaching like Sigourny Weaver. Lady has gravitas. Also, I love how thoughtful, empathetic, and fair this blog post is. I’ll keep my eye on her IMDB, and watch whatever she’s in next.

    (Are you listening studios? I’m in the ‘demo’ and would much rather watch an actor like Ms. Park than whatever unskilled too-young runway-model type you’re about to cast exclusively on the merits of their bone structure, hair, and skin color.).

  65. You portrayed an amazing woman and for that I am appreciative. There was nothing wrong with Beverly at all, very professional and it’s great to see that in a female role.

  66. I’m a white guy but, strangely, I don’t feel personally threatened that white guys get murdered all day long in shows like Hannibal, in every gruesome fashion imaginable. I guess I’m pretty grateful not to have to look at everything through the filter of social or racial grievance. I’m afraid that would ruin everything in life. I hope I don’t seem too insensitive. That said, I’m sure that this sort of controversy will be a wash for a show that seems perpetually in danger of cancellation. For every person that it turns away, it will catch the attention of someone else. That’s the thing about controversies- people can’t help but to be interested in them.

  67. Pingback: Hannibal’s Hettienne Park on Hannibal, Sexism and Beverly Katts | TVNOW!

  68. Just wanted to say I loved your character, and one thing about this show is that being killed doesn’t mean the character never shows up again. Here’s to more hallucinations in the future, and good luck in your career!

  69. Very interesting post. Sorry to see your character go, I thought you were great on the show. Also:

    “To be fair, I don’t believe they didn’t listen to me because I’m an Asian or a female. I think they didn’t listen to me because I’m an actor.”

    This made me laugh quite a bit.

  70. Pingback: » SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; Sleepy Hollow; Arrow; SHIELD; DC Movie Plans; The Americans; The Blacklist; Scarlett Johansson Gets Superpowers; Groundhog Day;Death of the Rani; How I Met Your Mother Finale Liberal Values

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  73. Thank you for writing this. It,s a great piece. Hannibal is a horror show and we have to expect important characters to die, whether they be a man, a woman, white or not, but i think one of the complains that comes often and that i have too is their disregard for Beverly’s intelligence and professionalism. They sent her to look for clues into Hannibal’s house, clues they wouldn’t even have been able to use in court as proof because it would have been procured illegally. There is not way Bev doesn’t know that and the fact they sent her to her death that way is disrespectful to the audience and most importantly, it’s disrespectful to Beverly as a character. It turns the character into nothing more than a plot device and angst fuel for Jack and Will instead of a character with her own agency who happened to be bested by a predator.

    • In the original source material, both Alana Bloom and Freddie Lounds are male. In real life, the vast majority of serial killers are men–and the vast majority of them are white. The bee lady was female–almost no serial killers are. Jack Crawford–African-American in the tv show–is white in the books and the movies. The real-life person on whom he is based is also white. So, basically, you are crying racism and sexism against a show that went out of its way to change the sexes and races of characters to be more diverse and deliberately added diverse characters. You do this based on the death of a character that was ADDED to the story as an Asian female, even though her death actually made her a MORE central character than necessary to the basic plot. The medical examiner characters are normally very small parts. Making Beverly more important was an unusual departure–making her an independent badass even more so. Not everything is about sex and race–until small-minded people obsessed with sex and race make it so.

  74. Pingback: Tuesday’s Link Attack: Hettienne Park Speaks Out; Korean Air to Design Bobsleds; Girls Generation Singer Questioned by Police « KoreAm Journal – Korean America's Premier Magazine

  75. you were right. Besides Will or Hannibal, Bervely actually draw my attetion and my caring as time gones by. I started to wondering when will she gonna appear, and what will she do next.
    It was kinda sad when she passed away in episode 5 but everything seems logical. I didn’t suprise. I never thought about racism.
    Great jobs! Hope you will success in the future ❤

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  77. Reblogged this on Stacks and Ranges and commented:
    Today’s Midweek Geekiness will be brought to you by Hettienne Park. People feel very passionately about their television shows and their characters. In one instance, Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad wrote a New York Times Op-ed piece about the disdain some fans had for Skyler White.
    In Ms. Park’s case race, as well as gender, proved to spark a firestorm after the death of her character. In this post readers look at the person behind the role, the creative decisions in the course of a program, and the need for civil discourse in media issues.

  78. Pingback: Radical Feminist Analysis of NBC’s Hannibal | introductiontorhetoricalstudies

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  82. Well considering the fans of this show repeatedly tell me to kill myself over opinions I have, I’m not surprised it came to this. The tumblr/twitter fans are mostly self entitled jerks who don’t actually understand it’s okay to allow people to have different opinions. Their social justice there is such a joke. They think you can only be racist if you are white. After Hetienne wrote this people were upset with her for writing it. This fandom (at least on those two sites) seems to be mostly hateful, immature, morons. I’ve met very few people who were actually cool about differing opinions and my blog has mostly become a place where people leave comments about how much they hate the fans. This fandom is gross and I’m sorry that Hetienne and Fuller were at the brunt of an attack like this. I was hoping they would just attack people like me and leave the cast alone.

  83. If Bryan Fuller is so sexist, why did he make both Bloom and Lounds FEMALE, when they are both MEN in the books? If you can’t watch a TV show or read a book without putting on your lens of navel-gazing post-modernist victimology first, I feel very sorry for you. Hannibal is great writing and great psychology, and Fuller has turned it into better television than it ever was film. Personally, I find myself looking forward to Friday’s episode of Hannibal sometime Wednesday afternoon. Be happy. Revel in its majestic craft. And keep the whiny politics out of it.

  84. Pingback: Hannibal’s Hettienne Park Breaks Her Silence About Beverly’s ‘Shocking, Funny’ [Spoiler] | Trending Fever

  85. excellent points and an interesting read. Beverly Katz was a great character written and acted wonderfully (pun only partly intended…). sad to see her killed off but what a memorable way to go out, displayed like that

  86. Pingback: ‘Hannibal’s “Feminist Take on Horror” Still Has a High Female Body Count | Bitch Flicks

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  94. An eggroll?!? Seriously?!? LOL… Great to get your side of what it was like to be involved with the show, and your thoughts on your demise.Always wonderful to see inside the creative process. Wish you could have stuck around longer.

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  96. ‘I love Beverly Katz. And I loved playing her.’
    That made me even more emotional than the actual death did…
    I hope you will get to pull an Abigail Hobbs and make more posthumous appearances on the show! I am a huge Hettienne Park fan now, thank you 🙂

  97. Pingback: News Bites & Other Cool S%!t: 3/25/14 | Shallow Graves Magazine

  98. Reblogged this on littlewonder2 and commented:
    While I can understand people’s outrage of Bev’s death, you have to compare and see the difference between the show and the books/movies, and see that there’s much more strong women and race representation than in the original. It’s part of what I love about the show. Even Jack Crawford wasn’t originally black.

  99. Pingback: Hettienne Park talks NBC’s Hannibal | Curtis Loves Movies

  100. You’re a stupid SJW special snowflake whiner. Kill yourself ^_^ Something else, stop demanding that WE whites involved you special muhnority snowflakes in OUR fictions. Make your own fucking shows, and we won’t DEMAND to be in them. Piss off.

  101. Pingback: Page to Screen: Hannibal — Season 2 (2014) | The Literary Omnivore

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