Academy apologizes for Asian jokes during Oscars

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Academy Apologizes To Asians For Insensitive Oscars Skit

The Motion Picture Academy apologized on Tuesday for jokes made about Asians during last month's Oscars ceremony.

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

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Dozens of Academy members issued a letter to Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and CEO Dawn Hudson earlier in the day expressing their concerns.

"We are writing as Academy members of Asian descent to express our complete surprise and disappointment with the targeting of Asians at the 88th Oscars telecast and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes," said the March 9 letter signed by Ang Lee, George Takei, Sandra Oh and 22 other Academy members, former Oscar winners and nominees.

During the controversial segment from the February awards show, host Chris Rockbrought three Asian children carrying briefcases onto the stage, posing as "bankers" from finance firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Academy apologizes for Asian jokes during Oscars
Actor Ryan Gosling (L) and Actor Russell Crowe present on stage at the 88th Oscars on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Charles Randolph (L) and Adam McKay accep their awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, The Big Short on stage at the 88th Oscars on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: David White (L) and Mark A. Mangini win the Best Sound Editing award for 'Mad Max: Fury Road' onstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Members of Ex-Machina visual effects team accept their award for visual effects on stage at the 88th Oscars on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
THE OSCARS(r) - THEATRE - The 88th Oscars, held on Sunday, February 28, at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) in Hollywood, are televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST. (Photo by Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images) CATE BLANCHETT
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Mark A. Mangini (L) and David White accept the Best Sound Editing award for 'Mad Max: Fury Road' onstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Musicians Verdine White (L) and Philip Bailey (R) of Earth, Wind & Fire and Beck attend the 24th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party at The City of West Hollywood Park on February 28, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for EJAF)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actors Daisy Ridley (L) and Dev Patel speak onstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Director Asif Kapadia (L) and James Gay-Rees (R) accept the award for Best Documentary Feature, Amy, on stage at the 88th Oscars on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Actor Leonardo DiCaprio attends the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Actress Rachel McAdams (C) attends the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Musician Dave Grohl performs onstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs speaks onstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor Jacob Tremblay (L) and Actor Abraham Attah present on stage at the 88th Oscars on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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"They sent us their most dedicated, accurate and hard-working representatives," he said. "Please welcome Ming Zhu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz."

"If anybody's upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids," Rock added.

The letter demanded a response from the Academy, saying, "We look forward to hearing from you about this matter and about the concrete steps to ensure that all people are portrayed with dignity and respect."

Read the full letter below. The Academy did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.

March 9, 2016

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President
Dawn Hudson, CEO
Members of the Board of Governors
Reginald Hudlin and David Hill, Oscars® Producers
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

RE: "Oscars: Why Make Cheap Jokes at the Expense of Asians?"
(Hollywoodreporter.com)
"The Oscars anti-Asian racism was alive and well."
(PsychologyToday.com)
"Asian-American Jab at Oscars reveals deeper diversity woes"
(Associated Press, Salon.com)

Dear Cheryl, Dawn, Members of the Board of Governors, Reginald and David:

We are writing as Academy members of Asian descent to express our complete surprise and disappointment with the targeting of Asians at the 88th Oscars telecast and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes.

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. 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.

We look forward to hearing from you about this matter and about the concrete steps to ensure that all people are portrayed with dignity and respect.

We are proud that the Oscars reach several hundred million people around the world of whom 60% are Asians and potential moviegoers.

Sincerely,

Don Hall, Sound Branch, John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, Academy Governor, 18 years
Freida Lee Mock, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® winner, Academy Governor, 6 years
Arthur Dong, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® nominee, Academy Governor, 4 years
Ang Lee, Directors Branch, Two-time Academy Award® winner
Chris Tashima, Shorts and Feature Animation Branch, Academy Award® winner
Christine Choy, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® nominee
David Magdael, Public Relations Branch
France Nuyen, Actors Branch
George Takei, Actors Branch
Janet Yang, Producers Branch
Jessica Yu, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner® AMPAS
Jodi Long, Actors Branch
Laura Kim, Public Relations Branch
Marcus Hu, Executives Branch
Maysie Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Nancy Kwan, Actors Branch
Peter Kwong, Actors Branch
Renee Tajima-Pena, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® nominee
Rithy Panh, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® nominee
Ruby Yang, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® winner
Sandra Oh, Actors Branch
Steven Okazaki, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® winner
Teddy Zee, Executives Branch
William Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Yung Chang, Documentary Branch"

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