The Academy has issued a formal apology to Asians. Twenty-four people in the entertainment industry, majority of which are of Asian descent, have approached the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to air their grievances against the jokes made against Asian people at Oscars night.
According to the complainants, some of the jokes made that night were quite racist to the Asians. For instance, Chris Rock targeted Asian children in sweatshop and math jokes, Deadline reports. Presenter Sacha Baron Cohen also referred to Asians as “those yellow men with tiny dongs – you know, Minions.”
The letter of grievance that the Academy received asked how the body could have allowed “such tasteless and offensive skits” to be carried out that night. The letter also asked the Academy what process they now have “in place to preclude such unconscious or outright bias and racism toward any group in future Oscars telecasts.”
Among those who signed the letter were Ruby Yang, Chris Tashima, Jessica Yu, Freida Lee Mock, Steven Okazaki, Teddy Zee, Janet Yang and George Takei. The initiative was encouraged by Ang Lee, Vanity Fair reported.
As the news became public, the Academy issued a statement of apology and promised that they will take this matter seriously in future. “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,” the statement reads.
According to Deadline, another signee, Peter Kwong, who was also once a member of Board of Governors rep for the TV Academy’s performers, said, “I was there at the Academy Awards, and I was shocked because (Academy President) Cheryl Boone-Isaacs went up and talked about diversity and then right after that comes the jokes from Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen.”
The letters were quite successful in highlighting the problem of inclusivity and diversity at the Oscars for all minority groups, not only the African Americans.