Chris Rock may have blasted Hollywood during the Oscars for its alleged bigotry but now he’s under fire for his own ‘racist joke’.
Last month, during the 88th Annual Academy Awards, Rock roasted Hollywood with a hilarious opening monologue that coined such genius phrases as ‘sorority racism’ and accurately referred to the ceremony as the ‘White People’s Choice Awards’.
However, the night wasn’t without controversy and, ironically, Rock himself has been accused of making an offensive joke of his own while pointing out Hollywood’s racism.
For the gag in question, he brought out three young Asian kids and described them as the ‘dedicated, accurate, and hard-working accountants of PricewaterhouseCoopers’, the company that helped count the Oscar ballots.
Rock then joked that if anyone was offended by his comments then they should tweet their complaints on a phone that was probably made by the kids as well.
In response to the misjudged joke, 25 prominent Asian figures including George Takei and Academy Award winning director Ang Lee, co-signed an open letter to Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson, members of the board of governors, and producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin about the ‘tasteless and offensive’ jokes made during the live broadcast, Complex reports.
Here’s the letter in full:
Dear Cheryl, Dawn, Members of the Board of Governors, Reginald and David:
We are writing as Academy members of Asian descent to express our complete surprise and disappointment with the targeting of Asians at the 88th Oscars telecast and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes.
In light of criticism over #OscarsSoWhite, we were hopeful that the telecast would provide the Academy a way forward and the chance to present a spectacular example of inclusion and diversity. Instead, the Oscars show was marred by a tone-deaf approach to its portrayal of Asians.
We’d like to know how such tasteless and offensive skits could have happened and what process you have in place to preclude such unconscious or outright bias and racism toward any group in future Oscars telecasts.
We look forward to hearing from you about this matter and about the concrete steps to ensure that all people are portrayed with dignity and respect.
We are proud that the Oscars reach several hundred million people around the world of whom 60% are Asians and potential moviegoers.
Don Hall, Sound Branch, John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, Academy Governor, 18 years
Freida Lee Mock, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner, Academy Governor, 6 years
Arthur Dong, Documentary Branch, Academy Award nominee, Academy Governor, 4 years
— i-D (@i_D) March 16, 2016
Ang Lee, Directors Branch, Two-time Academy Award winner
Chris Tashima, Shorts and Feature Animation Branch, Academy Award winner
Christine Choy, Documentary Branch, Academy Award nominee
— TODAY T (@tdy_T) March 6, 2016
David Magdael, Public Relations Branch
France Nuyen, Actors Branch
George Takei, Actors Branch
— E! Entertainment (@e_entertainment) March 16, 2016
Janet Yang, Producers Branch
Jessica Yu, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner AMPAS
Jodi Long, Actors Branch
The Little Girl From The Oscars Was In The Dark About Chris Rock's Lazy Asian Jokehttps://t.co/hptTUoTvjV
— Jen Robinette (@Jen_Robinette) March 6, 2016
Laura Kim, Public Relations Branch
Marcus Hu, Executives Branch
Maysie Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Oscars' apology for 'racist' Asian stereotypes labelled 'patronising' https://t.co/epZ2UOcxNJ
— Guardian Film (@guardianfilm) March 16, 2016
Nancy Kwan, Actors Branch
Peter Kwong, Actors Branch
Renee Tajima-Pena, Documentary Branch, Academy Award nominee
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apologized for two derogatory jokes about Asians at the Oscars https://t.co/Z9mWyMpCD3
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) March 16, 2016
Rithy Panh, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® nominee
Ruby Yang, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner
Sandra Oh, Actors Branch
— The Verge (@verge) March 15, 2016
Steven Okazaki, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner
Teddy Zee, Executives Branch
William Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Yung Chang, Documentary Branch
An Academy spokesperson has since come out to address the letter, saying:
The Academy appreciates the concerns stated, and regrets that any aspect of the Oscar telecast was offensive. We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future shows be more culturally sensitive.
You’d think the Academy would have learnt its lesson by now…