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Anime fans are fuming over Scarlett Johansson's whitewashed new role

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Why do we continue to act like Asian actresses are hard to come by? Because they're not

Scarlett Johansson's latest role is bringing accusations of whitewashing and prejudice against Asian actresses, and the critics have a point.

Johansson was just announced to play the lead in Paramount Pictures' Ghost in the Shell, which is great news — except the role is Major Motoko Kusanagi, a special ops human-cyborg hybrid and a character originating in a popular Japanese anime series.

More: Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans slut-shame Scarlett Johansson's character

So why is a white actress playing an Asian character? That's what fans would like to know.

In fact, some are so incensed that a petition has been started in an attempt to get Dreamworks to recast the role.

"The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress?" the petition overview reads. "The industry is already unfriendly to Asian actors without roles in major films being changed to exclude them. One recent survey found that in 2013, Asian characters made up only 4.4 percent of speaking roles in top-grossing Hollywood films."

So far, more than 67,000 people have signed the petition.

More: Teen Wolf's Arden Cho calls out another whitewashed movie casting

The casting news is making waves on Twitter, too.

The uproar mirrors that of the criticism Cameron Crowe faced for casting Emma Stone, a white actress, as a mixed-race Hawaiian and Chinese character in his film Aloha.

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