By E. Alex Jung, Vulture
One of Chris Rock’s most controversial jokes from Oscars night wasn’t about systemic racism in Hollywood; ironically enough, it was a crack against Asian people. In a bit similar to the one he did the first time he hosted the Oscars, Rock brought out three Asian kids as the “dedicated, accurate, and hard-working” accountants “Ming Zhu, Bao Ling, and David Moskowitz” of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Then, he joked, “If anybody is upset about this joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids.”
In an interview with Public Radio International, one of the kids, eight-year-old Estie Kung, and her mother, Laura, said that they didn’t know what the joke was until the rehearsal after they had already signed a contract:
In this case, it wasn’t until the rehearsals, after Estie got her tux fitted and was already looking forward to the opportunity to be on the Oscars, that her parents heard the entirety of the joke for the first time. But they had already signed the contract and had to confront the very likely possibility that their daughter would be part of a racist joke that would cause an uproar. After talking to Estie, they ultimately decided to take the optimistic point of view, believing that an inappropriate Asian joke that might provoke a difficult public conversation may be preferable if the status-quo alternative was to have no Asian presence at all. So, they braced themselves.
Categories: Asia Times News & Features