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OCA Meets with ABC Network Leadership to Address Hate Speech on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Thursday, January 30, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kham Moua
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OCA Meets with ABC Network Leadership to Address Hate Speech on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

January 30, 2014

Dear Advocates,

On Friday, January 24, 2014, OCA, together with the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC), met with ABC Network executives regarding the "kill everyone in China” comment made during a segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss ways to prevent similar occurrences in the future, opportunities to introduce greater cultural awareness, and organizational capacity to exercise good judgment on materials aired through its television programming.

The executives in attendance included:

  • Paul Lee, ABC President
  • Hope Hartman, Vice President of Corporate Communications
  • Steve Milovich, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources, Talent and Workforce Diversity
  • Olivia Cohen-Cutler, Senior Vice President of Broadcast Standards and Practices
  • Tim McNeal, Vice President of Creative Talent Development

While there were delays in confirming this meeting, it was necessary for us to be steadfast in addressing the Asian Pacific American (APA) community’s concerns directly with the leadership of the Network. It was important for the ABC executives to understand that the Jimmy Kimmel incident was not only offensive but that the language uses Asians as economic scape goat has incited violence against the community in the past, such as in the murder of Vincent Chin in the 1980s. Moreover, there are also recent examples of how hate speech has been used to bully and bring about assault leading to death, as in the case of Private Danny Chen in 2011.

While there were forthright discussions of concerns, the APA advocates and advocacy organizations, including OCA, have also voiced our willingness to continue acting as a resource on diversity and inclusion efforts. OCA’s objective, as a civil rights organization, is to strengthen the cultural competency of the media by demonstrating APAs as an asset to their programming. To this end, we stand ready to advise and assist ABC to explore the introduction and enhancement of new and existing APA characters and themes. Additionally, we also wish to support an effort to diversify their officer level leadership positions: such as CEO, CFO, COO, etc.

The positive outcomes from the meeting include but are not limited to:

  • An apology to community leaders for the hateful comments aired;
  • Acknowledgement that such language and material can and do contribute to hate crimes;
  • Removal of the Kids Table segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live!, their website, and all social media;
  • A commitment to neither develop nor air any more skits using the Kids Table format;
  • Cultural sensitivity training for network staff;
  • Ongoing meetings with ABC executive producers to include more Asian Pacific Americans (APA) in their programming and staff, at all levels;
  • The development of a community-network advisory group to develop national programming during APA Heritage Month in May.

We are pleased and optimistic about the outcomes of our meeting with ABC. They committed to addressing the damage done by the "kill everyone in China” statement. And they have also taken proactive measures to prevent another incident. This is a victory for the Asian Pacific American community and a great first step in minimizing and eliminating racism in broadcast television. We could not have accomplished this work without your help. OCA will continue to work with media companies to monitor and advocate for Asian Pacific American representation.

Because of your support of the National Center’s advocacy efforts, we have been able to continue to represent the community to the top leadership in all sectors, from the President of the United States to the upper leadership at the Pentagon, and now the ABC Television Network. When our staff is at the table, your interests are advanced. When there are efforts to render our community invisible, we insist on not being ignored. Our efforts are amplified because of your support. Your voice is our voice.

As we work toward advancing our mission as a leading APA civil rights organization, we hope you will support our efforts by making a gift toward OCA’s Civil Rights Fellowship today. The Fellow plays a critical role in our ongoing advocacy strategy and is 100% funded by members, chapters, and advocates, who give generously to support our commitment to advocacy issues like the xenophobic rhetoric used on Jimmy Kimmel Live! To make a donation to the civil rights, please click here.

Thank you for your continued support as we advocate for APAs across the United States.

Sincerely,


Sharon M. Wong                                    Tom Hayashi
OCA President                                       OCA Executive Director

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