Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony director was sacked after historical footage of Kentaro Kobayashi making Holocaust jokes in the latest scandal to hit the Games surfaced.
A clip was widely shared on Japanese social media on Wednesday showing comedian Kobayashi in a 1998 television skit that included the phrase “Let’s play the Holocaust,” and there were strong calls for his dismissal.
Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center released a statement condemning the jokes, saying, “Any person, no matter how creative, has no right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide … The Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews ”.
Kobayashi’s dismissal comes a day before the opening ceremony began, which earlier this week had lost his music composer Keigo Oyamada, who resigned after it emerged that he had mistreated his classmates and went out of his way. boasted in an interview with the magazine.
Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said: “We are currently investigating how to conduct tomorrow’s opening ceremony.”
There have been a number of similar scandals among high-ranking officials. In March, Olympics creative head Hiroshi Sasaki was forced to resign after calling comedian Naomi Watanabe “Olympics” and suggesting that she wear pig ears at the opening ceremony.
In February, the head of the organizing committee of the Games Yoshiro Mori resigned after making sexist comments. The 83-year-old said women talk too much and that meetings with multiple directors “would take a long time.” About 400 people withdrew from the Olympic volunteer program after the comments.
The Games will officially begin on Friday with the opening ceremony at Tokyo National Stadium. The event will not host fans after spectators have been banned due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the city in a state of emergency.