New Fox Show Accused of Racism, Asked to Reshoot Scenes Deadline
Fox has been asked to reshoot some scenes in the pilot for a new program. Writing on Deadline.com, Lisa de Moraes reports that the Media Action Network for Asian Americans asked Fox to reshoot some "racist" scenes in the pilot for Seth MacFarlane's live-action "Dads."
Fox said it's in the process of responding to the request.
As previously reported, critics at the recent Television Critics Association press tour took a dislike to the new show for some of the same reasons that MANAA is protesting the show -- notably, its apparent racist humor. The show includes an Asian-American actress, Brenda Song, who is asked to dress up as a sexy Asian schoolgirl to impress Chinese clients.
"Word of the kerfuffle got out [Thursday] afternoon when MANAA took the issue to the press," de Moraes writes. "In case you didn’t get the screener MANAA saw back in July, 'Dads' is about two video game developers (Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi) with cranky old dads (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert), who move in to their place. Sometimes the dads say stupid racist things. Mull’s character, for instance, calls Asians 'Orientals,' and says, of Chinese people, 'There’s a reason "Shanghai" is a verb.'”
After TV critics ripped the show TCA, "Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly placated them somewhat by telling them the show will need to recalibrate and find the right comedic balance. MANAA wants the pilot recalibrated before it premieres," de Moraes writes.
She adds: "In particular, the group took issue with a scene in which the sons are about to meet with Chinese businessmen and ask their Asian employee Veronica (Brenda Song) to dress up as a sexy schoolgirl. Green’s character suggests she also giggle demurely -- 'which is more a Japanese stereotype,' MANAA noted. 'Supposedly all was made right when the Chinese agreed to the deal after the "creepy interpreter" sent a picture of his penis to Song, who, predictably, said that it was tiny,' the organization complained in its letter, a copy of which was sent to the media [Thursday] afternoon."
MANAA noted that one of the producers of "Dads" made the point at the screening last month that the racial and sexist humor comes from the dads, and that being from an older generation they “don’t know any better.”
"However, MANAA noted, the whole sexy, giggling Asian schoolgirl thing came from the sons." de Moraes writes. "The organization also noted that, 'given the level of hostility we felt in the "Dads" pilot, perhaps it should come as no surprise' that series co-creator Alec Sulkin had tweeted on the day of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, 'If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, Google "Pearl Harbor death toll."' (Sulkin later took down that tweet, explaining apologetically, in another tweet: 'Yesterday death toll = 200. Today = 10 thousand. I am sorry for my insensitive tweet. It’s gone.' On the bright side, he got to recycle the gag, tweeting shortly after Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey, 'If I you want to feel better about the floods in New Jersey, google MTV’s Jersey Shore.')"
The report adds: "MANAA founding President Guy Aoki told Deadline the problems with the handling of race in a sitcom aren’t unique to Fox, citing CBS’s '2 Broke Girls,' in which, he claimed, the Asian guy is frequently the butt of the jokes but never the black guy in the diner. 'They are fearful of black people who are angry,' Aoki said of the TV industry, adding, 'At this point they are not fearful of angry Asian people. That’s why [MANAA] exists.'”