Sorry, But The Academy's Apology Over Asian Jokes Is A Non-Apology

The esteemed Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has once again found itself embroiled in a debate over cultural insensitivity.

Academy Issues

Some people just never learn.

After all the hullabaloo over lack of African-American nominations in major acting categories in last month’s Oscar Awards, one expected the highly anticipated ceremony to address the issue of racism in the movie industry — which it did, but only to some extent and at the expense of other minority groups.

Host Chris Rock, along with few other celebrities, tore into Hollywood for not giving equal opportunities to the actors of color. Although, sadly, it appears the term “actors of color” only applies to the members of black community because while Rock used his opening monologue to deliver a biting take on diversity, he later made crude jokes about Asians.

The “tasteless and offensive” skits received massive criticism, leading 25 Asian Academy members — including two-time Oscar award winning director Ang Lee, “Star Trek” alum George Takei and “Grey’s Anatomy” star Sandra Oh  to sign an open letter protesting the derogatory jokes.

“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,” read the letter. “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.”

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George Takei

Takei also told the Los Angeles Times the word diversity now only seem to mean black and white.

"We were absolutely aghast to see they compounded that by having a joke about Asian American children,” he said. “How insensitive and how ignorant.”

The Academy, however, responded with this non-apology:

“The Academy appreciates the concerns stated, and regrets that any aspect of the Oscar telecast was offensive,” an Academy spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future shows be more culturally sensitive.”

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