Takei shuts down racist criticism of new Star Trek

Michelle Yeoh plays a high-ranking officer in Star Trek: Discovery.
Michelle Yeoh plays a high-ranking officer in Star Trek: Discovery.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

WASHINGTON • George Takei was first cast in Star Trek two decades after World War II, when American racism against his Japanese ancestry still burned strong.

So, who better than Takei to respond to a spate of racist and race-tinged criticism that greeted a trailer for the series' new instalment, Star Trek: Discovery, featuring high-ranking Asian and black female officers, played by Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green respectively.

MSNBC brought Takei on on Sunday to get his take.

"People are finding the time to hate on Star Trek for having diversity," host Joy Reid prompted.

"Well, you know - today, in this society, we have alien life-forms that we call trolls," Takei replied.

"And these trolls carry on without knowing what they're talking about and knowing even less about the history of what they're talking about. And some of these trolls go on to be presidents of nations."

Takei is no fan of United States President Donald Trump. He even wrote for The Washington Post last year about how Mr Trump's threats to ban Muslims from the United States recalled the Japanese internments through which his family suffered during World War II.


The series' casts have always looked more diverse than those of most contemporary shows: From the 1960s-era run with Takei's Lieutenant Sulu and a black female lieutenant to later instalments where a woman commands a star ship (as Yeoh will in Discovery).

Not all the critics of appearances by Yeoh and Martin-Green in the trailer resorted to racism.

One commenter noted that the new series is a prequel to the original run and that there is a fan theory that no women were allowed to captain star ships before Kathryn Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew) flew one in Voyager (1995-2001).

Never mind race or diversity, the commenter argued - the female captain in Discovery is not canon.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2017, with the headline 'Takei shuts down racist criticism of new Star Trek'. Print Edition | Subscribe