How Stephen Colbert Angered Twitter, Sparked A #CancelColbert Campaign

ColbertTweetPhoto: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
By now you've probably seen the #CancelColbert detritus floating around the Internet. And, if not, here's a quick breakdown of what went down:
On Monday, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announced the launch of a new organization called the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. In a letter to fans, Snyder said he was starting the foundation "to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities," but really, OAF was created in response to growing concern over the fact that he is at the helm of a franchise carrying a hateful and racist name.
On Wednesday night's The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert took on the issue, firing off a series of jokes that parodied the ridiculous foundation. On Thursday night, one of those jokes made it to Twitter.
Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 1.28.18 PM
Yikes. This is the foot-in-mouth Twitter equivalent of someone coming up behind you just as you conclude a story about packing your suitcase with, "and it was so big, I couldn't fit it in!" A classic that's-what-she-said moment. Except, you know, racist.
Next: Stephen Colbert's fans respond
The tweet exploded, Colbert's followers were enraged, and then Suey Park, whom you might remember from her year-old hashtag #NotYourAsianSidekick, tweeted the following:
Colbert's tweet was taken down, but not before the #CancelColbert campaign began ricocheting around Twitter like an errant racquetball at your dad's lunchtime game. Check out #CancelColbert for yourselves. It's worth a look.
So, now you're caught up. A couple questions we should consider: Is the rage warranted? Does context matter when you're talking about race? Is Stephen Colbert, the person, racist? Should the show be canceled?
The answers to these are probably somewhere along the lines of sure, yes, no, and definitely not. In the carefully word-counted digital mediums of today, subtlety, nuance, and context are totally lost. It's irresponsible to expect audiences to assume anything, let alone context for a complicated race joke. Does this mean that satire then needs to become politically correct? More importantly, is there such a thing?
For Colbert's part, he immediately responded by tweeting: To be clear here, we don't think Colbert made these jokes out of a deep-seated hatred for Asian people. The reality is that there is probably no world in which a white man joking about race will get it right. Context or not, a racist joke will immediately demand that he "check his priv." That's just the way it is, for better or for worse.
Personally, the most offensive part is that, taken alone, it's just not that funny a joke.

More from Movies

As if winning an Oscar wasn't enough, actress Lupita Nyong'o just proved that she has another talent under her belt: freestyle rapping. The 33-year-old ...
There are few movies that just beg to be parodied more than Fifty Shades of Grey. But High School Musical comes pretty darn close. In case you haven't ...
This month, many 15-year-olds are just getting in the back-to-school swing of things. But Auli'i Cravalho's schedule is a little bit different: The teen ...
The 1960s never seemed creepier than in Rose McGowan’s haunting short film, Dawn (2014). McGowan, whose long acting résumé includes roles on TV megahits ...
Growing up is hard to do. Before "adulting" — that is, clumsily impersonating our role models and pretending we have our lives together — became a buzzword...
Every once in a while, a documentary comes out and changes the world. For 2016, 13th is destined to do just that. A film from notable director, ...
For women, Star Wars costumes used to mean one thing: Princess Leia. There were variations within the theme — Danish side-bun Leia, Hoth Leia, gold-bikini-...
As long as Harry Potter fans keep rewatching the beloved movies, they'll keep finding new reasons the series will make you cry. The latest discovery? Harry...
The documentary world can be overwhelming. Think of a topic — broad or obscure — and very likely a movie has probably been made about it. Biographies, ...
Luna Lovegood is one of the most memorable characters from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Later, the eccentric character was brought to life by the ...
Few things bring cinephiles joy quite like spending the weekend holed up in a movie theater, devouring the latest silver screen debuts. Though the biggest ...
There comes a point in every person's life when Netflix just isn't enough. Despite there being countless options on the popular streaming service, ...
Double check the calendar: It's officially fall. The leaves are changing, Halloween is looming, and cuffing season is just around the corner. What does ...
Five months after a controversy formed around the casting of Scarlett Johanssen as a Japanese woman in Ghost in the Shell, the teasers are here. For the ...