Initially referring to the Oscars as “the white people’s choice awards,” no reservation was further seen on host Chris Rock as he made other ethnicity jokes during the 88th Academy Awards last Sunday.
The 2016 Oscars is Rock’s second stint in running the show. The first one was in 2005 after he gained popularity for being an effective comedy actor in movies such as “Lethal Weapon 4,” (1998) “Nurse Betty,” (2000) “Bad Company,” (2002) and “Madagascar” (2005).
The Hollywood comedian, according to BBC, was accused of stereotyping and racial discrimination by a group of activists when he introduced a trio of accountants who turned out to be three young Asian boys in suits.
“They sent us the most dedicated, accurate, and hard-working representatives. I want you to please welcome Ming Zu, Bao Ling, and David Moskowitz,” Rock said, referring to the three children.
The children were supposed to represent PricewaterhouseCoopers in jest, the accounting company responsible for tallying and safekeeping the results of the Oscars.
The act was made to highlight Asian children’s abilities and proficiency in mathematics. This could have been a moment of a funny banter hadn’t Chris gone on with comments on children’s exploitation in the industries of international production and manufacturing.
“If anybody is upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids,” Rock was caught saying.
The punch lines, according to critics, were direct references to child labor in China.
“The Architect” actress Constance Wu tweeted, “To parade little kids on stage w/no speaking lines merely to be the butt of a racist joke is reductive & gross. Antithesis of progress.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice Head Mee Moua said in a statement, “Last night’s ceremony, and particularly the ‘joke’ involving Asian children, which played off more than one damaging stereotype of Asians and Asian Americans, exposed one of the failings of how we talk about race in America: race relations are not a black-white binary.”
Other celebrities found Rock still rocking, though.
“Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson tweeted, “I didn’t think Chris Rock would stay this long on #OscarsSoWhite. I am SO glad he is! Genius. Smart. Eloquent. Hilarious.”
Leslie Sloane, publicist of Rock, said that Rock has yet to comment on the issue. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also has nothing to state yet on the topic.