Japanese broadcaster takes down alleged ‘racist’ anime clip explaining US protests after facing backlash

Updated: June 10, 2020 5:37:18 pm

A still from the NHK video about the BLM protests.

After facing severe backlash for its depiction of African Americans, Japanese Public Broadcaster NHK has apologised and taken down from its Twitter account a controversial anime video clip which attempted to explain the reasons behind the recent spate of protests in the United States.

The minute-long video clip, which was also aired on NHK’s ‘The World Now’ children’s programme on Sunday, was widely criticised for misleading the public and misrepresenting the Black Lives Matter Movement, The Guardian reported. It featured a tough-looking black man holding up his fists and claiming that protests in the United States were caused due to the wealth gap between black and white Americans.

According to CNN, the video clip failed to mention the custodial killing of unarmed African American George Floyd. Instead, the animated character is heard saying that the unrest was caused due to more black people losing their jobs than white people during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We apologize for our lack of consideration and for making people feel uncomfortable,” NHK tweeted, after taking down the video clip.

Reacting to the issue, Joseph M Young, the chargé d’affaires ad interim at the US embassy in Tokyo tweeted: “While we understand @NHK’s intent to address complex racial issues in the United States, it’s unfortunate that more thought and care didn’t go into this video. The caricatures used are offensive and insensitive.”

Several social media users called out the broadcaster for perpetuating stereotypes about the African American community. Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka reacted to the video with a GIF of popular talk show host Steve Harvey on Twitter.

Japan-based African American writer Bay McNeil tweeted, “There is absolutely nothing redeeming about it! If you don’t understand the real issues in the US you should just ask, or do your homework! Not give your viewers nonsense and misinformation while clowning us like this! This is so bad!”

On Saturday, hundreds of people took to the streets in Tokyo to protest against police brutality as part of the global demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

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