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  • Jul 31, 2014
  • Updated: 1:32pm
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Dutch musician's 'racist' comments against Chinese go viral, draw ire

Holland's Got Talent contestant Xiao Wang endures mockery on television

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 6:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 2:32pm

A judge from Holland’s Got Talent, a popular singing competition television programme in the Netherlands, has come under fire for making multiple racial slurs against a Chinese contestant.

In an episode that aired on November 17, Holland’s Got Talent judge Cornelis Willem Heuckeroth, a Dutch singer who goes by the name Gordon, cracked repeated jokes about Xiao Wang, a PhD student in economics and business who had come on the show to exhibit his singing skills in classical music. 

“Which number are you singing?” Heuckeroth asked after Wang explained that he would perform an aria from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto. “Number 39 with rice?”

After Wang’s singing drew cheers and enthusiastic applause from the crowd, Heuckeroth said that the singer’s voice was a “surplise,” mimicking a stereotypical Chinese accent.

“Honestly, this is the best Chinese I’ve had in weeks,” Heuckeroth added. “And it’s not a takeaway.”

Heuckeroth, who also referred to Wang as “the People’s Republic of China,” voted for the 30-year-old to remain on the show as a contestant, but followed this praise with a sideways comment in Dutch that Wang looked like he belonged in a Chinese restaurant.

Fellow judges Chantal Janzen, a Dutch actress, and Dan Karaty, an American choreographer, remained silent during most of Heuckeroth’s comments until Wang had left the stage. 

“You’re really not supposed to say things like that to people,” Karaty said. “That’s just awful.”

Video: "Holland's Got Talent" judges make racist comments to a Chinese contestant

Heuckeroth’s remarks are beginning to draw criticism from international media outlets, and the UK’s Daily Mirror described his jabs as “sensationally…casual racist jokes.”  Both English and Chinese-speaking netizens have also lashed out at the television host through various social media outlets.

“Xiao Wang’s performance was amazing and yet all that judge could see was his race,” wrote a user of popular internet forum Reddit, where conversation of the incident has attracted over a thousand posts. “It’s…downright depressing. As an Asian person, it’s kind of sad sometimes when [race] is all people see you for.”

On Chinese social network Sina Weibo, bloggers compared Heuckeroth’s remarks to a recent controversial skit by US comedian Jimmy Kimmel. The skit, which contained a joke from a six-year-old who suggested that the US should “kill everyone in China,” inspired protests from many Chinese Americans, eventually resulting in multiple apologies from the comedian himself.

“There should be protests and demonstrations to call for [Heuckeroth] to step down,” one Weibo user wrote. “Kimmel’s skit seems innocent in comparison to these remarks, and at least Kimmel was apologetic.”

Eva Peters, a spokeswoman for the television broadcaster RTL4, declined to comment on the issue. The show is currently in its sixth season. Wang did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.

The Chinese embassy in The Hague has "noted the show", according to an emailed statement. 

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monkeyking
Gordon Heckereuth!!!!
Please get some wind under your wings and learn how to get international.
Look at the video see yourself acting like a fool, and be ashamed. All your statements were
neither funny nor a joke.This was lowest level Gordon.What did you want to say with your
stutter of food and menu and face and so on? We are in 2013 Gordon not in 1933 anymore.
Please wake up and think a bit before you give us such a disgrace.
Mr. Xiao Wang's behavior was spotless, his performance beautiful.
Now, Mr. Heckereuth you owe Mr. Xiao Wang an official apology, best chance for you next time you are on stage. I wonder if you have the courage, but we shall see.
Gustav Zschiesche (Austrian) Hong Kong
Cultural Awareness
Definition of Racism is explained here: ****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism
In which, I would quote this paragraph, it might help those who still don't understand why the educated societies of the outside world are outraged.
"Racism and racial discrimination are often used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of whether these differences are described as racial. According to the United Nations convention, there is no distinction between the terms racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination, and superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere.
The simple fact: there is still no justification for Bullying & Racism disguised in so-called "Jokes". This is NOT ok.
Also, the significance of the specially chosen "No.39 with Rice" comment. (not a random no.) It's not just undermining him as a take-away order-taker who can't pronounce the whole item name in full, therefore using the no. instead. There is an "inside-joke" in certain circles of what "39" stands for which is not obvious to all. Most people understand "69" which needs no further explaining. "68" means "one-sided of "69". &"39" here is replacing the "6" with '3" as it's graphic shape of a "bum-cheeks" with a "9" behind it. & "Rice" in this phase represented "Chinese" (OUCH)
Go Figure! That's double-insulting!!
tsthk
Having just viewed the video clip, I didn't find the judge's comments to be as bad as the article suggested. His attitude and remarks may seem ignorant to an increasingly politically correct society but nothing out of the ordinary. I've seen worse comments from hosts of chinese shows with foreign guests so don't see it as a very big deal. As Chinese, we should be proud and don't need to have a inferiority complex.
skywalker
Again, another story like this. It becomes really boring now. Poor Chinese everywhere they face racism and ridicule.
blum.bubu@gmail.com
Has he come out to apologize yet?
thung01
I found this much more offensive than the Jimmy Kimmel show - not just the overt racist mockery but the insufferably patronising tone.
apdld
Ps. My wife is mainland Chinese, we had our share of discrimination as well in HK.
sorry readers, this is not supposed to be a separate post but as reply to a reply. Something went wrong during typing i guess, hope scmp administrator van fix this?
thnx
skywalker
True. My wife is Filipina and I am Japanese. We got our share of discrimination in HK as well.
apdld
P.s. My wife is mainland Chinese, and we have our share of 'discrimination' as well.
alanbhaitsma

The Dutch are racists, here is proof:
****www.frontaalnaakt.nl/archives/holland-for-foreigners-cant-you-take-a-racist-joke.html
No more trade with this disgusting country would suit them well!

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