Last week, Ed was confirmed to be playing Major Ben Daimio in the new film, based on the DC Comics series.
However, the news was lambasted by many fans of the franchise, who pointed out that the character was of Asian descent, which Ed is not.
Following the backlash, Ed posted a long statement on his Twitter account revealing he would not be pursuing the role, and would never have agreed to appear had he been aware of the character’s ethnicity.
He wrote: “I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage.
“There has been intense conversation and understandable since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right.
“It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tenency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts.
“I feel it is important to honour and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down the role can be cast appropriately.”
Ed concluded that while he was “sad to leave ‘Hellboy’”, he hoped his decision would “make a difference” in terms of “equal representation”, adding: “Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family.
“It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity.”
In the past year alone, films like ‘The Great Wall’, ‘Gods Of Egypt’ and ‘Doctor Strange’ have all faced similar accusations of whitewashing, thanks to characters portrayed by Matt Damon, Gerard Butler and Tilda Swinton.
The new ‘Hellboy’ film, with David Harbour as the titular character, is currently slated for release in 2018.