Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kids, this is the story of how How I Met Your Mother met accusations of racism

Illustration for article titled Kids, this is the story of how emHow I Met Your Mother/em met accusations of racism

Earlier this week, the hashtag #HowIMetYourRacism popped up on Twitter. It was not, as it turns out, referring to an eight-year respite from racism, in which America would date various other, not quite right forms of intolerance, before finding its way back to The One. Rather, it was in reference to Monday’s episode of How I Met Your Mother, in which Jason Segel’s character explains, in a Kill Bill homage, how he’d been trained by three kung fu masters in the art of the slap—masters who were played by Josh Radnor, Alyson Hannigan, and Cobie Smulders in kimonos and Fu Manchu mustaches. And while the show wisely avoided any Mickey Rooney-in-Breakfast-At-Tiffany’s-style accents, the sight of three white actors in stereotypically “Asian” accoutrements was enough to spark online outrage, especially in a season where Dads and Jimmy Kimmel have already stoked those particular fires.


As the outcry of “yellowface” grew louder, series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas were forced to take to Twitter to apologize: “With Monday's episode, we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we’ve always loved,” Bays wrote. “But along the way we offended people. We're deeply sorry, and we’re grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it. We try to make a show that's universal, that anyone can watch and enjoy. We fell short of that this week, and feel terrible about it. To everyone we offended, I hope we can regain your friendship, and end this series on a note of goodwill. Thanks.”

To that end, Bays and Thomas confirmed at this week’s TCAs that the finale would incorporate scenes filmed back in 2006, with Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie once again playing Ted’s grown-up, incredibly patient children, and that neither of them would be portraying Asian people.

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