Stephen Colbert is attempting to hide behind his ‘fictional character’ in covering up an extremely offensive and racist tweet that lit up Twitter. In response to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder releasing a statement that he will not be changing the name of the team, but would be sitting up the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, Colbert tweeted the following.
The backlash on Twitter was swift and intense. There were numerous responses from individuals of Asian heritage who called Colbert out for the tweet that was viewed as not only insensitive, but racist.
#CancelColbert because white liberals are just as complicit in making Asian Americans into punchlines and we aren’t amused.
— Suey Park (@suey_park) March 27, 2014
Using satire that “ironically” ridicules Asians=not productive for indigenous nor any marginalized group. White humor blows. #CancelColbert
— sui generic (@cheuya) March 28, 2014
#CancelColbert because satire does not use words that trigger traumatic memories of bullying to Asian youth.
— YH (@parkyhee) March 28, 2014
But, the backlash wasn’t limited to just one ethnic group. Many went on the attack against Colbert for this bigotry on display.
Pretty sick of hearing racist humor being passed as “just for kicks” or “stop being sensitive”. #cancelcolbert
— Mushtaq (@Mush_AA) March 28, 2014
#CancelColbert Satire to make fun of racists isn’t supposed to be hurtful to those who are affected by racism, or you’re doing it wrong.
— micha (@michaonthemoon) March 28, 2014
I used to think Stephen Colbert is funny, but we should not let his racist paternalism fly by. #CancelColbert
— ✭James Saint-Franc☭ (@sirjamesa12) March 28, 2014
Comedy Central attempted to clean things up by stating that Colbert does not run the Twitter account for his show, but rather the network does. They then tweeted a video for people to watch to help put the tweet in context.
— The Colbert Report (@ColbertReport) March 28, 2014
At 4:54 into the video, Colbert begins his segment making fun of the Washington Redskins’ new Foundation. At approximately 6:15 marker, one is subjected to Colbert discussing a character that he portrays on his show named ‘Ching Chong Ding Dong’. The clip includes video from 2005 of Colbert impersonating someone he later refers to as ‘a Chinaman.’
The group Asian Media Watch called on Colbert to immediately stop that stereotypical portrayal of Asians with a character the viewed as offensive. In his ‘news’ segment that would supposedly put his offensive tweet into context, Colbert made light of Asians being offended by his character while the audience laughed at his mocking of them.
Whoever believed that video was supposed to make things right and ‘put things in context’ was sorely mistaken. All it does is demonstrate not so thinly veiled racism under the guise of comedy.
Colbert has since deleted the tweet, but the damage was done. #CancelColbert has been trending on Twitter with the call for Comedy Central to cancel his show.