In case you missed this year’s Academy Awards, during the ceremony Chris Rock performed a controversial skit in which he brought out three Asian children and introduced them as Academy accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers. He then followed up the introduction with, “If anybody’s upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids.”
Considering that Rock’s primary comedic target that evening was the Academy’s bias against African-Americans, and the #OscarsSoWhite campaign that alleged that bias, more than a few observers called him out on his double standard by performing Asian-American jokes. And now 25 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members, all of whom are of Asian descent, have banded together to send a letter to the organization, expressing “complete surprise and disappointment with the targeting of Asians at the 88th Oscars telecast and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes.” Among those members are Oscar winner Ang Lee, original Star Trek cast member George Takei, and Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh.
The letter was delivered to the Academy’s Board of Governors president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson, and Oscars show producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill prior to the Board’s monthly meeting in the hopes that the “tasteless and offensive skits” could be prevented from airing in future broadcasts.
UPDATE: According to Variety, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has issued a formal apology in response to the letter. It reads, “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.”