Jay Leno Is Attempting to Apologize for His Long History of Racist Asian Jokes
As recent as last year, the comedian was still cracking anti-Asian jokes about Koreans eating dogs
Published Mar 24, 2021Veteran late-night host and comedian Jay Leno has issued an apology in attempts to make up for his decades-long history of making anti-Asian jokes.
Following a nearly 15-year campaign by activist group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), Leno finally bowed to pressure to apologize today for his distasteful jokes targeting Asian communities. Even as recent as 2020, Leno was still found cracking racist jokes about Koreans eating dog meat, Variety reports.
"At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless," Leno said in a joint press release with MANAA leader Guy Aoki. "I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.
"At the time, there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don't worry about it. Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either 'We need to deal with this' or 'Screw 'em if they can't take a joke.' Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong."
Leno went on to add: "I am issuing this apology. I do not consider this particular case to be another example of cancel culture but a legitimate wrong that was done on my part. MANAA has been very gracious in accepting my apology. I hope that the Asian American community will be able to accept it as well, and I hope I can live up to their expectations in the future."
Of course, Leno's apology comes only after anti-Asian crimes started now finally capturing high-profile media attention in North America — despite the fact that MANNA has been calling for him to apologize for a whopping 15 years.
In fact, Leno's apology also follows MANAA contacting Leno's new employer, Fox, where he's now hosting a game show called You Bet Your Life. As Aoki explained, MANNA gave Fox an ultimatum that the network must fire Leno or the organization would start approaching sponsors to boycott the project.
So instead, today we get this apology from Leno. Of course, it's up to you whether you accept it or not.