Olympics opening ceremony director fired for Holocaust joke
The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony on Thursday because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998. Organizing committee President Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the ceremony that Director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a Holocaust joke in his comedy act, including the phrase "Let's play Holocaust."
Kobayashi is a former member of the popular duo Rahmens
Soon after a video clip and script of Kobayashi's performance were revealed, criticism flooded social media. "No one has the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Global Social Action Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Kobayashi is a former member of the popular duo Rahmens, known overseas for comedy series, including The Japanese Tradition.
Tokyo Games have been plagued by similar controversies
Kobayashi's Holocaust joke was the latest to plague the Games. Yoshiro Mori resigned as organizing committee president over sexist remarks. Hiroshi Sasaki also stepped down as creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies. Also this week, the chiropractor for the American women's wrestling team, Rosie Gallegos-Main, apologized after comparing Olympic COVID-19 protocols to Nazi Germany in a social media post.
Opening ceremony will be held without spectators
The opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games is scheduled for Friday. The ceremony will be held without spectators as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections, although some officials, guests, and media will attend. "We know several people are uneasy about the opening of the Games," Hashimoto said. "But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation."
Olympics are being held against advice of experts
Japan is pushing ahead with the Olympics against the advice of most of its medical experts. This is partially due to pressure from the IOC, which is estimated to face losses of three billion to four billion in television rights income if the Games were not held. "We have been preparing for the last year to send a positive message," Hashimoto said.