Ben Affleck called out by Miami Vice star for playing a Mexican American in Argo

Getty Images / Rex Features
Getty Images / Rex Features

Edward James Olmos has criticised Ben Affleck for playing Mexican American Tony Mendez in his 2012 film Argo.

The Oscar-winning thriller follows the true story of how CIA operative Mendez led an operation to rescue six US diplomats who were held hostage in Tehran, Iran in 1979.

Olmos, who is famous for starring in Miami Vice and Battlestar Galactica, claims Affleck should have picked a Mexican American for the role of Mendez since he himself is white.

Speaking to Deadline, Olmos asked the interviewer to name one Medal of Honour-winning hero who’s Latino that’s been shown in a film.

When the interviewer couldn’t name one, Olmos continued: “There’s not one. And when they have made movies about Latinos, ‘our heroes,’ say like Tony Mendez in Argo? Ben Affleck played Tony Mendez. He should never have played Tony Mendez.”

The 73-year-old actor added: “He was the director and he should’ve either gotten Michael Peña, or Andy Garcia, or myself, Jimmy Smits, any one of a multitude of people that can handle those roles. He said, ,’Well, they wouldn’t have made the movie if I wasn’t playing the role.’ B******t.

“He was directing it, he wrote it. It won the best film of the year Academy Award, so what are you talking about? Tony Mendez was a Chicano, a Mexican American, born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Now, 99 per cent of the people don’t even know that.”

Though many share Olmos’ views that it was wrong for Affleck to take on the role, in 2013, Mendez himself told NBC Latino that he didn’t consider himself Hispanic.

Mendez said: “I don’t think of myself as a Hispanic. I think of myself as a person who grew up in the desert. If I had been in a different family circumstance, I might have felt that way.”

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