Kentaro Kobayashi Fired From Olympics Opening Ceremony

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The delayed Tokyo Olympics have been plagued by coronavirus concerns
The delayed Tokyo Olympics have been plagued by coronavirus concerns

The creative director of the opening ceremony for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics has been fired after an old video of him making a joke about the Holocaust resurfaced.

On Thursday, the Olympic Organizing Committee announced Kentaro Kobayashi has been fired from his position in the opening ceremony after his comedy routine from the 1990s began to circulate online.

In the clip, Kobayashi is allegedly heard saying, “Let’s play the genocide of Jews” and speaking about the Holocaust.

“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” said  Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Olympic Organizing Committee.

“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.”

Following the announcement, Kobayashi issued a statement apologizing for his past remarks. “Entertainment should not make people feel uncomfortable. I understand that my stupid choice of words at that time was wrong, and I regret it,” he said.

However, Kobayashi isn’t the first person to be booted from his position at the Olympics. Composer Keigo Oyamada resigned from having his music played at the opening ceremony following his history of bullying.

Meanwhile, Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori stepped down from his position after making sexist comments.

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to begin on Friday at 6:55 a.m. ET on NBC.




Photo: AFP / Philip FONG

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