Olympic Ceremony Director Fired Over Holocaust Jokes

Andy Berg Headshot

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee has fired the man in charge of planning the event’s opening ceremony, which is set to take place on Friday.

Kentaro Kobayashi, a former Japanese comedian who has been the director of the Opening Ceremony’s program since 2019, was fired after a video of his comedic routine surfaced wherein he makes light of Nazi Germany’s mass murder of millions of Jews.

In the clip from 1998, Kobayashi jokes about “playing Holocaust” and says “let’s massacre Jewish people game.”

Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto announced that Kobayashi had been dismissed, leaving organizers to frantically "review" the Opening Ceremony's entire script. It is scheduled to begin Friday at 8 p.m. local time (7 a.m ET) at the Olympic Stadium.

Hashimtoto said she was not previously aware of Kobayashi’s comments.

"As soon as possible, we decided we will have to address the issue, and we decided on the dismissal," she said, according to Yahoo News.

New of Kobayashi’s dismissal comes just days after the musician responsible for the ceremony's musical interlude, Keigo Oyamada, resigned from his post after admitting that he bullied children with disabilities years ago.

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