Creative Director of Olympic Ceremony Fired over Holocaust Joke

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TOKYO — Just one day before the opening ceremony of the postponed Tokyo Olympics, the Games’ organizers fired the ceremony’s creative director Kentaro Kobayashi after video footage of him making fun of the Holocaust in a 1990s comedy act emerged.

Japan’s Olympic Minister, Seiko Hashimoto, said at a news conference on Thursday that he learned the sound Wednesday, after a series of scandals plagued the Games and particularly the creative team of the opening ceremony. In the skit, Kobayashi joked about “murdering Jews” while imitating the act of cutting out paper human figures. He said the organizing committee had decided to dismiss him “immediately”.

Kobayashi said in a statement that he regretted doing the routine and “aims to create comedies that don’t hurt others.”

“I understand that my choice of words was wrong and I regret it,” the statement said. “I apologize for the inconvenience”

The organizing committee said in a statement that Kobayashi “made fun of a painful historical fact in the past” and apologized “for causing problems and concerns to many stakeholders and residents of Tokyo and Japan”.

The swift decision to fire Kobayashi was in contrast to this week’s resignation. Keigo Oyamada A composer who wrote music for the inaugural ceremony has emerged on social media after he admitted to severe bullying and abuses against his disabled classmates, after quoting interviews he gave in the 1990s.

Oyamada initially apologized and would apparently keep his job before a widespread campaign on social media prompted him to resign. “We should have fired Mr. Oyamada sooner,” Hashimoto said.

Kobayashi became the second creative director of the opening ceremony to step down. in March, Hiroshi Sasaki resigns After a magazine revealed that he looked like a pig in asking a popular comedian and plus-size fashion designer to attend the ceremony. Sasaki’s resignation came only weeks later Yoshiro MoriThe former chairman of the Tokyo organizing committee also resigned. sexist comments about women.

On Twitter, some people questioned why Kobayashi was fired for an old routine, but others said his dismissal wasn’t enough. “The dismissal of Kentaro Kobayashi is a quick measure after the discovery of a past Holocaust sketch,” one wrote. banner. “But at tomorrow’s inauguration, are they going to do as this man directs? Is it resolved because he was sacked?”

Asked if he regretted going ahead with the Games amid the scandals unfolding at the Olympic Village and rising coronavirus cases, Hashimoto admitted that Tokyo organizers are “facing every possible problem”. However, he said, “We want you to remember Tokyo for overcoming many problems and achieving success.”



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