MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
Following the 88th Annual Academy Awards, 25 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who are of Asian descent wrote a lengthy letter to the Academy's board of governors—president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson and Oscar producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill—expressing their disappointment and anger with a particular skit that played out during the show.
You probably remember it. It's the one where Rock introduced three Asian children as Academy accountants, which included comments ad-libbed by presenter Sacha Baron Cohen insinuated that Asians have small genitalia. Ah, yes, that rings a bell.
Well, the Academy has kinda, sorta issued an apology on the matter.
A spokesperson tells E! News, "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."
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Star Trek actor George Takei, who was one of the members involved in the letter written to the Academy, explained to The Hollywood Reporter that he wants a formal apology for the "shameful" skit, and reiterates that there are bigger changes that need to be made.
When speaking of the ideal response from the Academy for their controversial skit, the 78-year-old explained, "Number one, first of all, an apology for that shameful presentation—and then we're gonna be watching the next Academy Awards very closely. But, more than that, it's a commentary on the industry."
He later added, "We want changes made. We are, first of all, owed an apology for this kind of demonstration, so that's the first step. The next step is to see how they perform next year on the awards. But we also need to see how the motion picture industry behaves—they've got to produce the kind of product that the members of the Academy can judge as worthy of Academy consideration."
Takei stated that he was "astounded at the obliviousness and the ignorance of the Academy people with regard to the notion of stereotypes," during this year's Oscars telecast.
He continued, "And then they perpetrated that in today's context: they had Asian children dressed in tuxedos with briefcases as numbers-counters, which is a stereotype that Asians have today. Back in those days, we were depicted as merciless villains or obsequious servants or buffoons to be laughed at. And then, in that same skit, they talked about Asian children making computers and iPhones—har, har, har.
"I mean, for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is supposed to be made up of distinguished people—the elite of the motion picture industry—to be so oblivious and so ignorant of the worst stereotypes and the damage, the profound damage, that they can do? Watching the show, that just gnawed at me, and then I got on the phone with friends and fellow colleagues in the Academy and we all agreed that this is unacceptable. And since the Board [of Governors] is having a meeting today, we thought this might be a well-timed release of our letter to the Academy."
But don't expect a boycott, either. Takei is fully confident that the Academy will right their wrongs. "We know these people. They're intelligent people. It was a disastrous oversight on their part. I'm sure there will be an apology. These are people that are sensitive and understanding. I mean, to not apologize for that demonstration of their total obliviousness—I don't expect that from this group of people, either."