The director of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics has been fired. On Thursday, the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee announced that Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed.
Kobayashi was fired after a video of his comedic act from a 1998 show went viral on social media. In that old clip, Kobayashi was caught making an insensitive remark about the Holocaust, as he said “Let’s play Holocaust.”
Olympic organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto apologized to everyone who was hurt by Kobayashi’s insensitive words.
“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” Hashimoto said, via ESPN. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”
BREAKING: Kentaro Kobayashi, creative director of Olympics Opening Ceremony, dismissed for making fun of the Holocaust in his comedic act. Per Seiko Hashimoto at press briefing now
— Motoko Rich (@motokorich) July 22, 2021
Even though Kobayashi is no longer a part of the picture for the Olympic organizing committee, the opening ceremony will take place on Friday.
“We are going to have the opening ceremony tomorrow, and yes, I am sure there are a lot of people who are not feeling easy about the opening of the Games,” Hashimoto said. “But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation.”
The opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics will begin tomorrow at 6:55 a.m. ET on NBC.