A producer on the upcoming film Alina of Cuba, John Martinez O’Felan, has responded to the recent controversy regarding the casting of James Franco as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro. In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, O’Felan labeled the comments “culturally uneducated.”

“A guy like John Leguizamo has historically been looked up to by Hispanics as one of America’s earliest actors of Latin descent since the 90s and I’ve always admired him as a fellow underdog,” O’Felan admitted. “But his comments are culturally uneducated and a blind attack with zero substance related to this project.”

Alina of cuba
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O’Felan continued: “The reality of the ignorance piece falls within his statement suggesting his personal view on being ‘Latino,’ because a land mass or living area does not determine a person’s blood history or genetics.”

The producer further suggested that Leguizamo’s comments have distracted attention away from the topic of the film, Alina Fernandez.

Leguizamo had shared his criticism of the casting in a post on Instagram, Friday, asking “How is this still going on?”

He continued: “How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well? No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement, which would be wrong! I don’t got a prob with Franco but he ain’t Latino!”

Alina of Cuba is set to begin filming later this month and will be shot on location in Cartagena and Bogota. No release date has been made official.