On the eve of the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, the director has been fired after a Holocaust joke from a 1998 comedy act came to light.
Director Kentaro Kobayashi was fired after video and a script of the act became known, with organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto making the announcement on Thursday.
From the Associated Press:
Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the opening ceremony that director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”
“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” Hashimoto said. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”
So, yeah, that’s not good. Yes, 1998 was a long time ago, yes it was a different time, but you know what hasn’t changed from 1998 to 2021? The facts of the Holocaust!
Clearly the organizers felt it wasn’t something they could get past, even for the director of the Opening Ceremony the day before the Opening Ceremony. This comes in the wake of a composer being fired for admitting to and glorifying past bullying, in addition to the various other ways the Tokyo Olympics have been derailed or threatened at every turn.
It’s fitting, almost, considering there’s a strong argument to be made that they shouldn’t be happening at all. The IOC is forging ahead in order to preserve billions in revenue, and Japanese politicians are going along with it to avoid having to write off billions in public money (despite the public health crisis in Japan.)
But, hey, surely the spectacle of an Opening Ceremony in an empty stadium tomorrow will get everyone right back on board.