Glockgal is smart and has pointed out that with M. Night. Shyalaman fanning all the flames to himself, it protects the Studio, the Casting Company, the Producers et al from any blow-back from the problematic casting. Right now they're primarily taking heat for hiring him - but not for anything else.
I'm incredibly WTF and boggled at MNS's statements. Incredibly.
But Paramount is the one who sent back protest letters, who wouldn't meet with concerned activist groups, who lied about receiving the blessing from various activist and empowerment groups, who gave the go-ahead for the toys to reflect the white leads (and those predominately male), and for the movie based manga to be more than ambiguous on the side of whiteness (ie - Manga!Zuko looks nothing like Dev Patel so who do they think they're kidding?).
No matter MNS's contributions, he got support
from the Studio (Paramount) and the Producers.
Let us not forget Deedee Ricketts;
"If you're Korean, wear a kimono. If you're from Belgium, wear lederhosen..."
Let us not forget Jackson Rathbone (steeped in the institutionalized racism of Hollywood);
”I think it's one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan. It’s one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit.”
Let us not forget;
“Caucasian or any other ethnicity.”