• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:16am

Outrage as US comedian Stephen Colbert mocks Asian Americans

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 March, 2014, 2:49pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2014, 6:29am

Social media erupted in outrage and counter-attacks after US comedian Stephen Colbert used language that mocked Asian Americans in what was intended as an anti-racist jibe.

Colbert, who is liberal but parodies a blustery conservative on his late night talk show, took aim at the Washington Redskins football team, whose name is considered offensive by many native Americans.

Colbert mocked team owner Dan Snyder, who has announced a fund to support native Americans while rejecting calls to change the name.

On Twitter and on his Colbert Report show Colbert said: "I am willing to show the Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."

Activists voiced outrage at the remark, which played on mocking imitations of East Asian languages. A conversation, under the hashtag #CancelColbert, was near the top of topics trending on Twitter on Friday.

Writer and activist Suey Park, who helped lead the protests, asked why it was acceptable for Colbert to use offensive language for Asian Americans if he was criticising racism against native Americans.

"#CancelColbert because white liberals are just as complicit in making Asian Americans into punchlines and we aren't amused," she tweeted.

Colbert distanced himself from the joke. On his personal Twitter account he said he just saw the comment and "I share your rage".

He tweeted that the comment came not from him but from the account ColbertReport - an apparent reference to how he performs in character.

Colbert came to prominence in 2006 with a biting tongue-in-cheek satire of then president George W. Bush in his presence at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

Colbert is not the first US comedian to be accused of double standards by Asian Americans.

Last year, the ABC network apologised after a child flippantly suggested to “kill everyone in China” in a segment where host Jimmy Kimmel asked what to do about the US debt to the country.


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This article is now closed to comments

Marcus T Anthony
Sad that some people are so conditioned to outrage that they cannot tell the difference between hateful intentions and someone who is ridiculing racism. Surely they must be feeling embarrassed by this stupidity. There are countries where people are being imprisoned, tortured and massacred because of their race or religion. In the nanny state people fly into a victim-centred rage even when someone tells a joke or accidentally uses an inappropriate word that is considered racist. This kind of thing makes a mockery of genuine attempts to create a more open and tolerant society because the accusation of "racism!" is now most commonly employed to project shame and hatred at - ironically - another race.
Colbert is not a racist. Quite the contrary, he is a liberal comedian that keeps poking fun at the conservatives.
His joke has been taken out of context even here as the headline - "Colbert mocks Asian Americans".
IMO, Suey Park is picking a fight with the wrong guy.
Marcus T Anthony
You not only don't understand what this article is about, you resort to negative stereotypes of "whites". I'm sure I don't need to tell you what negative stereotyping based on skin colour is normally called. Western countries moved on from this kind of thing decades ago. It is socially unacceptable. And that includes being unacceptable on any moderated Internet forum. Hong Kong and China have a lot of catching up to do.
BTW, how do you think a local HK person would be received if he made fun of racism in HK society? Do you think the Philiipinos, Indians, gwei.los etc. would not understand that he was criticising the LOCALS?
The guys is a classic. Laughing my **** off with this guy.
Marcus T Anthony
Do you not understand what parody is? The guy is not making racist jokes. He is MOCKING racists! I know that mocking fools is part of Chinese culture, because it is a common practice on the Chinese Internet. So there is simply no excuse for the misunderstanding.
Hmmm.... I wonder what will happen to him if the joke is about Jewish ...
Here the Chinesehave got to lesrn from the blacks. Bulk up, dont treat the whites so nice, excel in sports and you will probably earn some respect. White people are no different from any other, they will bully if they think they can get away. Many a times Chinese people were so eager to please White people to the point that white people just believe that wr like to be slaved by them.
Stewart's show is more tactful. Sometimes Colbert's satire and downplaying of racial jibes is just plain stupidity. Reminds me of a 40-something Anglo guy during class breaks who would tell jokes using Oriental subjects to an Asian man he sat next to and somehow think he would enjoy the jokes, but the smile is on the a-hole.


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