Creative Director of the Olympics Opening Ceremony Is Fired Over Holocaust Joke
Kentaro Kobayashi was dismissed just one day before the start of the Tokyo Games.
Kentaro Kobayashi, the creative director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, was fired after footage of him making a joke about the Holocaust resurfaced. Kobayashi’s remarks, which he made in 1998 as part of a comedy set, referenced “massacring Jews.”
In a statement, the Olympics organizing committee said Kobayashi “made a mockery of a painful historic fact in the past.” The committee also apologized for “having caused troubles and concerns to many stakeholders, and residents of Tokyo and Japan.” Despite Koyabashi’s departure, the opening ceremony will proceed as planned on the morning of July 23.
Kobayashi’s dismissal is the latest in a string of controversies plaguing the Tokyo Games. In February 2020, the president of the Olympics organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, faced backlash for making sexist comments implying that women talk too much. Nearly a year later, the event’s first creative director, Hiroshi Sasaki, resigned after making off-color remarks about comedian Naomi Watanabe’s weight. Earlier this week, the composer of the music for the Olympics stepped down after statements he made about bullying disabled classmates began circulating on social media.