With big plans for China, the Walt Disney Co. (DIS) can’t afford a long fight over the now-infamous segment on Disney-owned ABC last month in which a little blond-haired boy told Jimmy Kimmel that the U.S. should fix its financial problems by killing all the people in China. Gee, don’t kids say the darndest things? The comedian didn’t help matters by following up the tot’s comment by asking the other children on the panel, “Should we allow the Chinese to live?” Chinese-Americans are understandably upset and have demanded apologies from Kimmel and ABC.
Now the Chinese government is getting in on the umbrage action, with a spokesman yesterday calling on the network to “respond to the Chinese community’s demand in a sincere way,” the official Xinhua news agency reported. According to Xinhua, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang added that “spreading racism and hatred goes against the media’s social responsibility.”
In a worrisome sign for Disney, the call for an apology came after ABC had indeed apologized. “Please accept our heartfelt, sincere apology,” the network said in a Nov. 8 statement. Perhaps the Chinese Foreign Ministry doubts the sincerity of the apology, with the sort of mistakes-were-made passive construction your English teacher warned you never to use. “The simple fact is, the segment should never have been broadcast,” ABC said, adding: “steps have been made to try and prevent this kind of egregious mistake from occurring in the future.”
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