Spider-Man: Homecoming Director Shoots Down New Casting Rumor
A significant controversy was stirred up when rumors started that Barbieri's character would either be Ganke or a "version of" Ganke, since Barbieri is white and the character is Hispanic. Luckily, this particular instance of whitewashing isn't true, as Barbieri's character will be entirely unrelated to the comics character.
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!!!— Jon Watts (@jnwtts) June 16, 2016
The upset was probably a little premature, since we didn't know for sure who Barbieri was playing (Marvel has claimed that he's an original character). But to be fair, the controversy was just a symptom of a larger problem in the MCU, in which certain races are portrayed stereotypically and characters of color are played by white actors. Asians have been particularly shortchanged, between the offensive magical ninjas in Daredevil and the Tibetan Ancient One being played by Tilda Swinton. But Hispanics haven't fared much better, as there still hasn't been a Hispanic superhero in the films (despite representing almost one-fifth of the US population), and Ant-Man is the only MCU film I can think of with significant Hispanic characters (unless you count Zoe Saldana, who is a black Latina, but Gamora herself is not Hispanic). It looks like Spider-Man: Homecoming has escaped the whitewashing accusations, but hopefully the MCU will improve its diversity in general.
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens in theaters on July 7, 2017.