Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Ousted Over Holocaust Comments

Olympics
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Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Kentaro Kobayashi was removed from his post following the revelation of comments he once made about the Holocaust.

Kobayashi, a one-time comedian, was accused of making comments about the Holocaust during one of his comedy routines from 1998, according to FirstPost. The reports accuse Kobayashi of using jokes about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including phrases “Let’s play Holocaust” and “Let’s play the genocide of the Jews.”

Tokyo Olympics

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This comes the day before the ceremonies are set to begin. Seiko Hashimoto, the organizing committee president, made a statement as the news broke.

‘We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,’ Hashimoto said. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”

‘We are going to have the opening ceremony tomorrow and, yes, I am sure there are a lot of people who are not feeling easy about the opening of the Games,” Hashimoto said. “But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation.’

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean and global social action director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based Center known for Holocaust research and remembrance, said, “Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide.”

Cooper added, “Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of 6 million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics.”

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 19: The Olympic Rings are displayed by the Odaiba Marine Park Olympic venue ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 19, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

Toru Hanai/Getty Images

Kobayashi tried to apologize for what he had written in the script during his performance while he was part of the comedy duo “Ramens.” He told the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper while he was young, he was seeking “cheap laughs,” however, he recognized he was at fault.

“It should never be the job of an entertainer to make people feel uncomfortable,” he said. “I understand that my choice of words at the time was wrong, and I regret it. I would like to apologize for making people feel uncomfortable. I am very sorry.”

YouTube released one of Kobayashi’s skits.

Watch:

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