2021-07-25 05:21:55 Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Fired For Holocaust “Joke”

Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Fired For Holocaust “Joke”

The director of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Olympics was fired after footage from a 1998 comedy sketch showed him making an anti-Semitic Holocaust joke.

Kentaro Kobayashi was relieved of his duties just one day before the opening ceremony of Japan’s Summer Games.

The organizing committee confirmed Kobayashi’s departure in a statement. The creative director was fired “after a past joke he made about a painful historical event was brought to light.” according to the statement.

“In the short time remaining before the Opening Ceremony, we express our heartfelt apologies for any offense or anguish this matter may have caused to the many people involved in the Olympic Games, as well as citizens of Japan and the rest of the world,” the committee said.

Kobayashi, a comedian, actor, and theater director, first appeared in 1998 as a member of the comedy duo Rahmens. In a sketch, Kobayashi and Jin Katagiri hosted a children’s educational program. Kobayashi mentioned some paper doll cutouts, referring to them as “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust,'” according to the AFP news agency.

The audience erupted in laughter when he made his remarks.

The video quickly went viral, prompting Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to call the remarks “outrageous and unacceptable.”

“I’m in the business of entertaining people.” Kobayashi explained to local media. It should never happen that I make people uncomfortable. I recognize that my hasty choice of words was a mistake at the time, and I apologize.”

His departure comes just days after one of the event’s composers, Keigo Oyamada, resigned following the resurfacing of an old magazine interview in which he admitted to bullying other children at school, including a classmate with learning disabilities.

The committee deemed Oyamada’s actions “absolutely unacceptable” A four-minute segment of the show in which his music was to be played was cut.

There has been no word on how Kobayashi’s departure will affect the program or whether changes will be made to reduce his contribution.

The Olympic Games begin with the opening ceremony, which is typically a high-production-value show that highlights the host country’s cultural wonders while setting the tone for a fortnight of sporting excellence.

According to Reuters, this year’s show will be more subdued. The pandemic-affected Games have been met with challenge after challenge, with multiple athletes testing positive for COVID and Tokyo reporting rising numbers of cases.

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Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Fired For Holocaust “Joke”