Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President
Dawn Hudson, CEO
Members of the Board of Governors
Reginald Hudlin and David Hill, Oscars® Producers
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
RE: “Oscars: Why Make Cheap Jokes at the Expense of Asians?”
(Hollywoodreporter.com) “The Oscars anti-Asian racism was alive and well.”
(PsychologyToday.com) “Asian-American Jab atOscars reveals deeper diversity woes”
(Associated Press, Salon.com)
Dear Cheryl, Dawn, Members of the Board of Governors, Reginald and David:
We are writing as Academy members of Asian descent to express our complete surprise and disappointment with the targeting of Asians at the 88th Oscars telecast and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes.
In light of criticism over #OscarsSoWhite, we were hopeful that the telecast would provide the Academy a way forward and the chance to present a spectacular example of inclusion and diversity. Instead, the Oscars show was marred by a tone-deaf approach to its portrayal of Asians.
We’d like to know how such tasteless and offensive skits could have happened and what process you have in place to preclude such unconscious or outright bias and racism toward any group in future Oscars telecasts.
We look forward to hearing from you about this matter and about the concrete steps to ensure that all people are portrayed with dignity and respect.
We are proud that the Oscars reach several hundred million people around the world of whom 60% are Asians and potential moviegoers.
Don Hall, Sound Branch, John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, Academy Governor, 18 years
Freida Lee Mock, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner, Academy Governor, 6 years
Arthur Dong, Documentary Branch, Academy Award nominee, Academy Governor, 4 years
Ang Lee, Directors Branch, Two-time Academy Award winner
Chris Tashima, Shorts and Feature Animation Branch, Academy Award winner
Christine Choy, Documentary Branch, Academy Award nominee
David Magdael, Public Relations Branch
France Nuyen, Actors Branch
George Takei, Actors Branch
Janet Yang, Producers Branch
Jessica Yu, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner
Jodi Long, Actors Branch
Laura Kim, Public Relations Branch
Marcus Hu, Executives Branch
Maysie Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Nancy Kwan, Actors Branch
Peter Kwong, Actors Branch
Renee Tajima-Pena, Documentary Branch, Academy Award nominee
Rithy Panh, Documentary Branch, Academy Award nominee
Ruby Yang, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner
Sandra Oh, Actors Branch
Steven Okazaki, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner
Teddy Zee, Executives Branch
William Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Yung Chang, Documentary Branch
The Hollywood Reporter notes that only about 50 of the Academy’s approximately 6,500 membership are Asian. Thus, the letter represents the opinions of more than half of the Academy’s Asian and Asian American members.
The Academy appreciates the concerns stated, and regrets that any aspect of the Oscar telecast was offensive. We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future shows be more culturally sensitive.
Hours after the Academy offered that horribly trite mea culpa, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson offered a follow-up statement, calling our community’s concerns “valid” and promising to make future Oscars ceremonies more “culturally sensitive”.
Dear Friends and other concerned Academy members,
Thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns about our 88th Oscar show, which are valid. We appreciate your perspective and take your pointsvery seriously. It certainly was never the Academy’s intent to offend anyone.
We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future Oscar telecasts be more culturally sensitive.
It pains us that any aspect of the show was considered offensive, and I apologize for any hurt the skits caused.
Our Awards Committee and Academy leadership will be exercising more oversight to make sure that concerns like yours are fully addressed.
With warm regards,
That is, pardon my French, some bullshit. We’re sorry people were offended by the shitty racism that we beamed into the homes of millions of people on Oscars Night? Here’s a thought: How about you don’t give me some crappy apology three weeks after the fact? How about instead you just don’t act in complicity with racism?
(By the way, it’s worth noting that Chris Rock — who certainly had a hand in writing the skit even if it received subsequent approval from Oscars telecast producers — has so far remained mum on the controversy.)
A few years ago, I questioned the cultural relevancy of the Oscars after Fruitvale Station and a number of other prominent films featuring filmmakers of colour were snubbed amidst growing reports highlighting the lack of diversity in Hollywood film-making and the Academy membership. Two years later, I find myself still asking that same question.