The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has sacked the director of the opening ceremony, Kentaro Kobayashi because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.
President of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto made the announcement a day ahead of the opening ceremony. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”
In a statement, Hashimoto said “We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy”
“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.”
Before the unfortunate announcement, composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music was expected to be used at the ceremony, was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews.
Harping on the development, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based human rights group, said “Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide”.