Chris Rock is receiving largely good reviews for how he handled the #OscarsSoWhite controversy as host of last night's ceremony. But one of his jokes is not getting such a positive response. At one point in the ceremony, Rock introduced "representatives" from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm that tabulates the Oscars ballots. Three Asian children walked out on stage. "If anybody's upset about that joke just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids," he said. If that was an attempt to preempt criticism with another stereotype-centered joke, it didn't work. On social media, people pointed out how the bit highlighted the limited nature of the diversity conversation. While Rock slammed Hollywood for racism, his own joke rested solely on ethnic stereotypes. Here are some examples of the reaction:
And that wasn't the night's only joke at the expense of Asian people. Sacha Baron Cohen assumed his dimwitted character Ali G to weigh in on the controversy. He said: "How come there's no Oscar for them very hard working little yellow people with tiny dongs? You know, the Minions." As one might have expected, a joke that rests on the racist notion of "yellow people" and Asian men's penis size did not win Cohen many plaudits.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, Asian people have also been grossly underrepresented among Oscar nominees and winners. In fact, there hasn't been an Asian actress among the nominees since 1957.