Clémence MichallonWed, 24 March 2021, 7:39 pm
Jay Leno has apologised for jokes he has made in the past which targeted Asian people.
The former late-night host issued the apology on Wednesday in a joint press release (published by Variety) with the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), an advocacy group that monitors portrayals of Asian American people.
“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Leno said according to Variety. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.”
He added: “At the time, there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don’t worry about it. Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either ‘We need to deal with this’ or ‘Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke.’ Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Leno first shared the apology in a Zoom call with Aoki. Aoki told the outlet he secured a call with Leno after he was named host of an upcoming reboot of the game show You Bet Your Life.
“I do not consider this particular case to be another example of cancel culture but a legitimate wrong that was done on my part,” Leno added. “MANAA has been very gracious in accepting my apology. I hope that the Asian American community will be able to accept it as well, and I hope I can live up to their expectations in the future.”
The Independent has contacted MANAA and Leno’s representatives for more information.
JAY LENO, IF YOU KNEW IN YOUR HEART, IT WAS WRONG, THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE ACTED AND NOT TELL THOSE ASIAN JOKES!!! IT WAS AN INDICATION FROM GOD BUT YOU REFUSED TO LISTEN AND NOW YOU REGRET EVER TELLING THOSE JOKES. YOU SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO YOUR HEART.