Apparently channeling the “ignorant” character that he plays on his TV show, comedian Stephen Colbert tweeted on Thursday, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”
Since then, racial outrage has ensued and the hashtag #CancelColbert has been trending nationally on Twitter. However, in this instance, some context is important. Mediaite’s Josh Feldman explains:
Stephen Colbert, in case you didn’t know this, plays a character on his TV show. A character that is purposefully ignorant. As he’s said in the past, “I do the show in character – and he’s an idiot; he’s wilfully [sic] ignorant of everything we’re going to talk about.” So bear that in mind as you read about people on Twitter calling for Colbert to be cancelled because of a tweet the show sent out that said some purposefully ignorant things.
The tweet was a quote from Wednesday night’s show, in which Colbert was making fun of Redskins owner Dan Snyder for responding to complaints about the team name by announcing a foundation to help Native Americans. The Colbert character figured if that’s all it took to deal with accusations of racism, then he could just clear up issues surrounding his character Ching Chong Ding Dong by announcing the Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.
Here’s the tweet, which has since been deleted:
Even knowing the context behind the “joke,” many people are calling it “racist” and “ignorant.”
UPDATE: The official “Colbert Report” Twitter account tweeted late Thursday:
— The Colbert Report (@ColbertReport) March 28, 2014