Bennet, who plays Daisy Johnson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., posted a letter to Hadid on Instagram to remind her followers why photos and actions like these are so harmful, even if made in jest.
"Dear Gigi Hadid, As a kid, (and frankly as an adult) people would make fun of me for being Chinese. For having "Asian eyes". I would laugh it off because it was always a "joke", and if I didn't I was being "too sensitive". But in reality it made me feel horrible," Bennet wrote. "Like, just BEING ME was a joke that was not meant to be taken seriously."
The actress added that she became "embarrassed" of her identity and dyed her hair blonde to "look less Asian."
Dear Gigi Hadid, As a kid, (and frankly as an adult) people would make fun of me for being Chinese. For having "Asian eyes". I would laugh it off because it was always a "joke", and if I didn't I was being "too sensitive". But in reality it made me feel horrible. Like, just BEING ME was a joke that was not meant to be taken seriously. I was embarrassed of who I was. I dyed my hair blonde to make myself look less Asian just so I could feel "worthy" of the people who made me feel less than. Fortunately, now I know that none of this is true. That my value does not come from how I LOOK, but from my CHARACTER. From how I treat others. I know I am not alone in feeling these things. It hurts my heart to see someone like you, a beautiful young woman with so much influence, act in this inconsiderate way. This does not make you a bad person or racist, however, it does make you ignorant to the pain that your actions can cause others. No matter how unintentional those actions are. And, even if it was just "a joke". So...to the young Asian men and women who are used to laughing off others ignorance, even though deep down you are hurting. I HEAR YOU. You are badass. You are awesome. Who you are is not "funny". YOU determine your self worth. Be proud of who you are. 👊🏽💥--Also, I'm also sorry for how many run on sentences there are in this letter. 🤓 Love, Chloe P.S. While I'm at it, Asian men are super sexy. So with all due respect fuck you Steve Harvey.
Bennet's message is a good reminder to people who might say others are being "too sensitive" or that something was "just a joke." Words matter, and it's up to us — celebrities and normals alike — to use them for good.