Television personality Stephen Colbert is fighting off charges of racism after a tweet sent from his show’s account offended some people. The quote, taken out of context from a satirical skit Colbert did on his show Wednesday night, appeared to mock Asians. In the skit, Colbert had been poking fun at Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for refusing the change the name of the team.
The tweet from @ColbertReport, since deleted, read: "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." The @ColbertReport account has more than a million followers.
The host has since distanced himself from the verified account, which is reportedly controlled by network Comedy Central and not his own staff. The hashtag #CancelColbert had quickly became a trending topic, and the Colbert himself used it in his own reply early Friday morning, in which he wrote “#CancelColbert - I agree! Just saw @ColbertReport tweet. I share your rage. Who is that, though? I'm @StephenAtHome.”
Comedy Central confirmed in its own follow-up tweets on the account that “This is a Comedy Central promotional account, with no oversight from Stephen or his show, that quoted a line out of context. #cancelcolbert” The account also tweeted: “For the record @ColbertReport is not controlled by Stephen Colbert or his show. He is @StephenAtHome Sorry for the confusion #CancelColbert.”
In the original skit (embedded in the tweets below), Colbert mocked Snyder for opening a foundation to benefit Native Americans, which he oddly named the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. On his Wednesday show, “Colbert mocked it as an attempt at positive PR for the NFL team and its controversial name, which many consider to be racist,” reports USA Today
“In the segment, Colbert aired a clip from a 2005 episode where he played the over-the-top ‘Chinese’ character named Ching-Chong Ding-Dong,” reports Entertainment Tonight.
“In character, Colbert says he's opening the ‘Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.’ The joke, which relied on the context of the set-up to make sense, was later tweeted by The Colbert Report's official Twitter handle.”
Colbert also previously played the Asian character in a 2011 segment attacking Rush Limbaugh, according to USA Today.