Do you think comedians should apologize for insensitive jokes made in the past? Apparently Jay Leno feels the need.
Jay Leno has apologized for making racially insensitive jokes about Asian people. His decision followed repeated campaigns by Asian American groups who’ve asked him to address the jokes.
During the “Tonight Show” years, Leno made jokes about Korean people eating dogs. He allegedly made a similar joke during a guest appearance on “America's Got Talent” in 2019. It wasn’t aired, but the situation led to calls by Asian advocacy groups for NBC to cut ties with the comedian.
“I was shocked and saddened by what has been happening to my fellow citizens in the Asian community,” Leno said in a statement released by the Media Action Network for Asian Americans. “I would be deeply hurt and ashamed if somehow my words did anything to incite this violence. With MANAA's help, I would like to do what I can to help the healing process.”
- “At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Jay went on to say. “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.”
photo: Getty images