Sports Olympic opening ceremony director fired for Holocaust joke
Olympics schedule 2021: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch Tokyo Games on NBC channels, stream online
Here's what's happening at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics today as well as a TV schedule to watch every event in the United States and Canada.During the 2016 Rio Olympics, the United States broadcast 6,755 hours of Olympic action. Canada itself produced over 2,000 hours. Each country could set new Summer Games-highs in 2021.
TOKYO — The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony on Thursday because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.
Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the opening ceremony that director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust."
“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” Hashimoto said. “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.”
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Tokyo has been plagued with scandals since being awarded the Games in 2013. French investigators are looking into alleged bribes paid to International Olympic Committee members to influence the vote for Tokyo. The fallout forced the resignation two years ago of Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed the Japanese Olympic Committee and was an IOC member.
The opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games is scheduled for Friday. The ceremony will be held without spectators as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections, although some officials, guests and media will attend.
“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.”
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Earlier this week, composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music was to be used at the ceremony, was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews. The segment of his music will not be used.
Soon after a video clip and script of Kobayashi’s performance were revealed, criticism flooded social media.
“Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based human rights group.
He also noted that the Nazis gassed Germans with disabilities.
“Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of 6 million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics,” he said.
Kobayashi is a former member of a popular comedy duo Rahmens and known overseas for comedy series including “The Japanese Tradition.”
Zero risk? Virus cases test Olympic organizers' assurances
TOKYO (AP) — Two South African soccer players became the first athletes inside the Olympic Village to test positive for COVID-19, and other cases connected to the Tokyo Games were also confirmed Sunday, highlighting the herculean task organizers face to keep the virus contained while the world's biggest sports event plays out. The positive tests came as some of the 11,000 athletes and thousands more team officials expected from across the globe began arriving, having traveled through a pandemic to get to Tokyo. They'll all now live in close quarters in the Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay over the next three weeks.
Japan is pushing ahead with the Olympics against the advice of most of its medical experts. This is partially due to pressure from the IOC, which is estimated to face losses of $3 billion to $4 billion in television rights income if the Games were not held.
“We have been preparing for the last year to send a positive message," Hashimoto said. “Toward the very end now there are so many incidents that give a negative image toward Tokyo 2020.”
Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, also acknowledged the reputational damage.
“Maybe these negative incidents will impact the positive message we wanted to deliver to the world,” he said.
The last-minute scandals come as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government faces criticism for prioritizing the Olympics despite public health concerns amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections.
Kobayashi’s Holocaust joke and Oyamada’s resignation were the latest to plague the Games. Yoshiro Mori resigned as organizing committee president over sexist remarks. Hiroshi Sasaki also stepped down as creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies after suggesting a Japanese actress should dress as a pig.
Also this week, the chiropractor for the American women’s wrestling team apologized after comparing Olympic COVID-19 protocols to Nazi Germany in a social media post. Rosie Gallegos-Main, the team's chiropractor since 2009, will be allowed to finish her planned stay at USA Wrestling’s pre-Olympic camp in Nakatsugawa, Japan.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
AP Sports Writer Stephen Wade contributed to this report.
Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press
bullying allegations: Olympic composer occurs before the opening .
Keigo Oyamada is not the first of the creative team of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, who has to take his hat. © Provided by www.rollingstone.de A General View Shows The Olympic Rings Lit Up at Dusk on the Odaiba Waterfront in Tokyo On Juky 12, 2021. (Photo by Charly Triballeau / AFP) (Photo by Charly Triballeau / AFP Via Getty Images) Keigo Oyamada is not the first of the creative team of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, who has to take his hat.