#RacismisNotComedy: Old BBC video about ‘Filipino children’ gains traction amid anti-Asian hate sentiments

March 18, 2021 - 7:06 PM
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People wave signs at an intersection during a pre-planned rally against anti-Asian hate crimes held by the Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Organizing Coalition Against Hate and Bias in Newcastle, Washington, U.S. March 17, 2021. (Reuters/Lindsey Wasson)

An old video clip of a show in the United Kingdom previously accused of racism against Filipinos resurfaced on Twitter amid the rise of anti-Asian hate sentiments overseas.

TV host Gretchen Ho was among those who shared this video clip on her account on Thursday, March 18.

Ho quote-retweeted a user who posted the old recording.

“What kind of person would make this a joke?!!! Not funny. #StopAsianHate,” she tweeted.

The nine-second video featured a speaker who was Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan. She said: “We don’t test any of our products on animals. We use Filipino children.”

The clip was cut short after that.

The spliced video came from an episode of a comedy show in UK called “Mock the Week” that was aired on BBC way back in 2013.

The longer version of the segment in question, which can still be accessed on YouTube, showed six speakers, including Ryan, as they took turns in making suggestions of “unlikely” lines or spiels that were from a cosmetic commercial.

 

In BBC’s website, the long-running program is described as a mixture of “panel show, stand-up and improvised games with two teams of comedians taking a satirical swipe at the news and world events.”

However, many Filipinos were not pleased with Ryan’s remark that time. She drew public outrage among Filipinos, particularly from those working in the UK, citing the line was racist and disrespectful.

Ryan later issued a statement on Twitter, saying that people misunderstood her.

“It was UNLIKELY lines from a cosmetics commercial. *UN-LIKELY*. You’d be very unlikely to hear that. Because it would never happen,” she wrote.

As of writing, the comedian has not issued a new response about the renewed attention to the old episode

This old recording resurfaced at the height of anti-Asian hate crimes protests in the United States through the hashtag #StopAsianHate.

The movement was prompted after a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of which were Asian women on March 17.

READ: For Asian-Americans, Atlanta shooting sows fresh fear after a year of mounting discrimination

The suspect was immediately charged with eight counts of murder in connection to the killings.

The hashtag #StopAsianHate dominated Twitter that day with more than one million tweets.

Aside from Ho, celebrities such as Lea Salonga, Margaret Cho, Steve Aoki and Lee Chae-rin or CL also joined in the chorus of calling for an end to the violence and discrimination against the Asian community.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez previously filed a note verbale or formal note that sought for “immediate assistance” from the US State Department to ensure the safety of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans there.

“We have requested the State Department’s immediate assistance in raising this matter with the appropriate federal and state authorities to further strengthen and assure the security and protection of the lives of persons of Asian descent, including Filipinos and Filipino-Americans,” Romualdez said.