Satirist Stephen Colbert is under fire for what some people are calling a racist tweet sent from the account of his show, The Colbert Report.
The original message, posted on Thursday afternoon but now deleted, was a play on Asian stereotypes. It was pulled directly from a segment on Wednesday’s show mocking Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for responding to pressure to change his team’s name by instead setting up a charity to aid Native Americans. The tweet read, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”
But taken out of the larger context, many Twitter users thought the messaged trafficked in the very racism the show was originally trying to lampoon. By Thursday evening, the hashtag #CancelColbert was trending on Twitter, with users, assuming the tweet had been sent by Colbert rather than a representative of his show, personally blasting the host for perceived insensitivity. (“When satire becomes as offensive and hurtful as the thing satirised it is no longer satire. It is simply more injustice. #cancelcolbert,” read one sample tweet.)
Others, including comedians Jim Norton and Patton Oswalt, rushed to defend Colbert.
The original message was deleted within a few hours, a move that in turn prompted outrage from right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin, who accused Colbert of cowardice. Subsequent tweets from @ColbertReport explained the context and clarified that Colbert himself does not administer the account. Even Colbert weighed in humorously from his personal account saying, “#CancelColbert _ I agree! Just saw @ColbertReport tweet. I share your rage. Who is that, though? I’m @StephenAtHome.”
But as of Friday, the controversy continues to rage, and #CancelColbert remains a top trending subject on Twitter.
Outside of Twitter, Comedy Central has not commented on the matter.