Discussion: Race-Swapping in Featured Stories (or the Albino Elephant in the room)

In another instalment of Stuff I Notice from Episode which I Doubt Most People Think as Much as I Do (edit: apparently more people than I expected do):

This thread is inspired by me scrolling through Trending the other day and finding a Featured story in the works: Pretty Little Housewife by Bri. No, this thread isn’t going to focus on this story. Instead, this is more of a general trend of Race-Swapping in Episode. Thanks to @DancingStories for showing me the instance with one of the LIs.

What is Race-Swapping?
To put it simply, Race-swapping is when a character in a story changes race, usually in an adaptation or in this case being featured.

Where are they?
For me, I believe I first seen this with Sandra G’s Living with My Crush. It may also be the most obvious example - the main and supporting cast turned from mostly white to black, Australian and Japanese.

This happens in other stories to lesser extent, usually applied to supporting characters such as Best Friend characters. Nowadays though, this seems to be getting more prevalent with stories such as More Than Friends, My Books Her billions, Don’t Call Me Angel, etc.


  1. What do you generally think about race-swapping in Episode Featured stories?
  2. Why do you think it’s so common?
  3. Is there anything you think can improve or develop the process, or anything in particular?
  4. If Episode usually feature more diverse stories and authors, would this not be as prevalent?

Disclaimer: This thread isn’t meant to Attack Episode or demean authors who get featured. Likewise, this isn’t necessarily a place to talk about other entertainment media. This is supposed to be a discussion of this trend.


As you and I already talked about, I find it disingenuous and straight up rude of Episode to do this. I’m sure they’re only making these changes to SEEM like they’re following their “Commitment to Diversity” they made years ago; When in fact they’re only promoting stories by white authors and slapping black/brown paint on said stories as a “See! See you poor authors of color! We listened to you!” It’s uncomfortable and it makes me feel like I’m watching West Side Story(it made a bunch of non-latinx white people get fake tans to be Puerto Rican). Also, to look at the other side bc I know someone will claim I’m biased: What do said authors think about this? I know they lose a bit of creative license when selling to Episode but surely they don’t enjoy seeing their characters be completely changed?


I’ve noticed this has been happening for quite sometime and I find it pretty degrading and tacky. It’s a lazy attempt to appear inclusive while leeching off the community’s desperation for representation. Not to derail from the topic at hand, but they also have a habit of queer-baiting and I discussed this on my instagram back in August after the “BFF to Bae” shelf where the cover for the shelf featured a same-sex couple, and none of the stories featured had MCs on the LGBTQ spectrum.

It’s common because it “satisfies” that demographic without putting in any actual work. Episode official/featured stories aren’t the only ones to do this. Many community writers, especially during contest time use black main characters to elicits a reaction from certain readers, and then give the option of cc, completely erasing whatever inclusivity they pretending to provide.

I know Episode is a choose your own story app, and ultimately they are catering to an audience that wants to insert themselves in the narrative they are reading. This, I do not have a problem with, and I don’t expect them to cater to people like me – because at the end of the day, it’s all about money. However, I do not appreciate this fake diversity for clout points. Just keep the main characters white as they were when you bought the rights to the story. And while you’re at it, a little quality check making sure your writers aren’t making their caucasian characters gold06 would be nice as well. But a girl can dream.

I do think if they featured or wrote a story with a main character whose race is locked it would definitely lessen the instances of this occurring. It’s only happening because said stories do not exist currently. But we all remember how that played out the last time – so the chances of this happening are very unlikely.


Obviously I can’t speak for those authors, but I believe most times they don’t think much about the race-swapping. Usually they’re 100% Episode’s doing. In a way, those characters act the same as they do in the original.

That being said, the resulting stories would have mixed results. For instance, I know that in the original Wicked Sins the LI has limited CC because he’s supposed to be ‘pure-blood’ Irish, but in the featured he has full CC (which has a bit of a funny family CC). In these cases, it’s a bit obvious that they are meant to be default white. Especially with the stories which have the original stories’ Author Splashes with the default white characters.

  • What do you generally think about race-swapping in Episode Featured stories?
    depends. a lot of moves have done it. and did it well. especially Netflix they do that a lot. like en a series of unfortunate events. or Shera. on episode, I both find it a weird

  • Why do you think it’s so common?
    its been very common that diversity is feeling like a need in stories. that is why. you do not change characters race because you think it would make it better. because it won’t.

  • Is there anything you think can improve or develop the process, or anything in particular?
    How about authors make better diversity from the start. also most dont even change personality. it is mostly just a copy paste in the script

  • If Episode usually features more diverse stories and authors, would this not be as prevalent? I think so.


It’s definitely a disingenuous tactic to keep from actually being inclusive. We’ve been telling them that covers and ads aren’t enough. It’s been three years, and they still haven’t done anything beyond this surface level stuff. They listen to everything else except for when it comes to diversity and inclusion of their featured stories.


Also, I don’t think at this point they ever will listen and it’s one of the reasons I’ve significantly pulled back from using Episode as much. At this point, the disingenuous tactics are just exploitative, especially since they were called out for using POC as “marketable but profitable” (Thanks, Nat, wherever you are. She really knew how to check a company) don’t think there’s anything we can do to make them change, but regardless, it’s good to let them know they’re not fooling anybody with this.


I think there would be more complaints if they didnt do it. I dont think they go looking for stories with white characters to feature, they look at numbers and retention so if those are the stories with white mcs, then at least they’re trying.


I don’t think anyone who wants diversity and who has asked for it would want forced/false diversity. So I don’t think there would be more complaints. What was the purpose in changing Her Books, His Billions to Her Billions if they were only going to give the option of sexuality? Episode began with stories with straight white MCs by white authors and kept it that way. When asked for more diversity in features they simply added POC MCs with customization.

They only have one non customizable feature with a POC. One. They made a post on their commitment to diversity after an article using them as reference with respect to black being marketable but not profitable which has been disproven with the success of black feature films.

There are plenty of stories by POC authors that have retention but they continuously feature more of the same and slap false diversity on it by changing the skin tone of a white character, a side character.

Also the shelves and editors picks are mostly white except BHM.

It’s simple, those who spent time holding Episode’s hand at the end of 2016 and into 2017, those who helped them, listened, believed in them… they were all lied to. Their commitment proved to be nothing but a pacifier as I’ve always believed and said back then. Words without action.


Maybe I am the only one who is not really offended by this? I mean all they are they are trying to do is add diversity to stories and if it wasn’t essential for a character to be a certain race I think it’s fine :woman_shrugging:


1. What do you generally think about race-swapping in Episode Featured stories?
I’m not against it but I dont think its necessary at all. I’m not sure whether it is episode doing the swapping or the authors but I dont think it’s right for episode to change people’s characters at all.
2. Why do you think it’s so common?
Because people want to be praised for having a diverse story, they want the reads that comes with it. On top of that, Episode has a track record of being non-inclusive to black and brown characters. So I think they’re also doing it to save face
3. Is there anything you think can improve or develop the process, or anything in particular?
The authors should try to learn about other nationalities, cultures and ethnicities so they can make their characters diverse from the start.
4. If Episode usually feature more diverse stories and authors, would this not be as prevalent?
I think its gonna be even more prevalent because they’ll see the attention that diverse stories are getting and want to receive that same reaction to theirs. that is if it’s the actual authors doing the race swapping and not episode themselves

But lemme play devil’s advocate here maybe at the time that they created their story they weren’t very knowledgeable of other ethnicities aside from their own but overtime have become more aware and want to reflect that in their stories. Bottom line it’s their story and no one elses if they want to change their cast…more power to them I guess, I just think it’s lazy.

I mean I dont read featured stories so it doesn’t matter to me regardless


Not happy when I see it. Fake diversity, or just a really bad attempt at it.
There’s a lot more examples of this that isn’t just limited to race, but I feel that’s for another thread.

And, if I must be honest, I see a bit of hypocrisy when this happens.
Some users actually LOVE when the white character becomes a POC, but then rant about whitewashing when the POC is unexpectedly white.

The only way to save anything like this is if we just eliminate it entirely or create alternate timelines, but even THEN it’s not a permanent solution.


This post is saying the exact opposite and therefore devoid of this hypocrisy you speak of. We are talking Episode, not Hollywood. Whitewashing is taking a character who has ethic ties to a certain race and making them white. Whereas you may see some fictional characters like a Blue Genie get cast by a black persons or other POC. Aladdin couldn’t be white. It wouldn’t make sense. The genie could be any race but if we want to get deep into Djinn mythology, the genie wouldn’t be white. A white man was cast as the very real Michael Jackson in a movie. Let’s not confuse white washing with POC being cast in fictional roles with no ethic ties. There’s no hypocrisy.


Thank you everyone who expressed their opinions so far, but just giving a reminder that this topic is solely about Episode, not about Hollywood or other outside media.

Besides I’m already learning a bit about Episode too :unamused: All opinions welcome otherwise

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True. It’s just recently there have been more black and other POC authors in Trending with interesting diverse stories. Of course Episode probably doesn’t do this on purpose, but In a sense, they have more of a chance to find these types of stories from different kinds of authors.

To me, that certainly helps better than seeing the cookie cutter types of stories every few weeks


tbh, i dont know what i think about this. I think many other black people will agree with me when i say that sometimes i appreciate “race-swapping” when it comes to adaptations of movies, usually ones that have an all-white cast. I mean, black people haven’t been represented much (or properly) in movies, books, comics, and other forms of storytelling until recently in history. I dont see the problem with changing a white character into a black one for the sake of saving diversity

On the other hand, there are people who like to take advantage of this and use our desire to see ourselves on screen to make a profit. And that in itself is entirely wrong. However, it’s hard to see where the line is crossed with something like this. Is Episode taking advantage of minorities by race-swapping characters? Most likely. Episode is still a business and businesses do whatever they can do to increase their profits.


Sorry if i went off topic by talking about outside of episode. I didn’t read your comment until after i posted

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I think you might have misunderstood my post.
I’m not talking about Hollywood at all.

And I’ve seen a few instances of what I was describing before. It’s just not very common.


I actually just saw a featured story that did the opposite. There’s one side character who’s black in the original and white in this version and I wonder if it’s because he’s the bad guy in the original?


Yeah, I noticed that too but in another Featured story, a black character changed into an Asian along with a couple other race switches to lessen the racist implications

Can you say or indicate what story you’re talking about?

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