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The director of the Olympic Games' opening ceremony in Tokyo has been fired from his job after his jokes about the Holocaust surfaced online.
Kentaro Kobayashi, who used to be a comedian, appeared on a television show back in 1998 where he was remembered saying 'let's play the genocide of the Jews' during a games segment.
At that time in the late 90s, the joke went under the radar.
But now, in 2021, Kobayashi's comments have re-emerged on the internet and have sparked outrage among fans.
BREAKING: Kentaro Kobayashi, creative director of Olympics Opening Ceremony, dismissed for making fun of the Holocaust in his comedic act. Per Seiko Hashimoto at press briefing now- Motoko Rich (@motokorich) July 22, 2021
It seems officials in Tokyo weren't best pleased either after hearing the remarks, wasting no time in giving Kobayashi the boot from his gig just 24 hours before the opening ceremony kicks off.
"We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy," Organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto said.
"We deeply apologise 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."
Kobayashi, undoubtedly distraught from losing his prestigious job title, issued a statement of his own.
"Entertainment should not make people feel uncomfortable," he said.
"I understand that my stupid choice of words at that time was wrong, and I regret it."
(TW) Footage has surfaced of the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony director, comedian Kentaro Kobayashi, seemingly mocking the Holocaust in a skit from the 1990s. He's seen here referring to a "let's massacre Jewish people game" https://t.co/lPINidfzmp- Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) July 21, 2021
Kentaro Kobayashi, show director of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony, used to make a fool of the Holocaust on the stage as a comedian, which completely undermines the Olympic Charter prohibiting any discrimination. This is a very sad situation, indeed.#小林賢太郎- 高橋 浩祐（たかはし こうすけ）Takahashi Kosuke (@KosukeGoto2013) July 21, 2021
As the Ambassador of Israel to Japan and as a daughter of a #Holocaust survivor, I was shocked to hear about the anti-Semitic remarks made in the past by the famous comedian Kentaro Kobayashi and now a director of the opening ceremony of the #Tokyo2020- Yaffa Ben-Ari (@YaffaBenAri) July 22, 2021
According to Japanese media reports, Kentaro Kobayashi made light of the mass murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis in a script for his comedy act in 1998. https://t.co/vxZALTXy5j- The Japan Times (@japantimes) July 22, 2021
I have translated into English the comments of Kentaro Kobayashi, who was the director of the opening ceremony of the Olympics.- しまばら (@nar_ran2Mte) July 22, 2021
I'm sorry for translating without permission.
I apologize for my poor English. #Olympics2021 #Olympics pic.twitter.com/o9g1gTU5sB
Video of the joke from 1998 spread like wildfire on social media after one user did some digging into the archives before sharing it.
That one clip then did the rounds and has now been viewed by millions of people, with some people condemning his comments while others threw their support behind him.
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