Satirical news program "The Colbert Report" came under fire Thursday night from Twitter watchdogs who accused the show of racism following a tweet from the show's official Comedy Central-run account.
The tweet, since deleted, went out to more than 1 million followers and read: "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."
#CancelColbert quickly became a trending hashtag on the social media platform as many users decried the use of such language and demanded the show be removed from air.
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"#CancelColbert because white liberals are just as complicit in making Asian Americans into punchlines and we aren't amused," tweeted Suey Park (@sueypark).
Delivered out of context the tweet from @ColbertReport does indeed appear racist. The quote, however, came from a segment aired during Wednesday's episode in which host Colbert was discussing Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Rather than change the name of the football team in response to intense criticism that it promotes racism, Snyder instead started the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation to "provide resources that offer genuine opportunities for Tribal communities." Colbert mocked it as an attempt at positive PR for the NFL team.
The full segment can be viewed below with the Redskins comments beginning at around 4:50.
As #CancelColbert gained momentum, Colbert and Comedy Central weighed in on the controversy with Colbert humorously distancing himself from the original tweet and Comedy Central clarifying that @ColbertReport "is not controlled by Stephen Colbert or his show."
Colbert was first to respond with the following via his personal Twitter account @StephenAtHome:
Soon after, Comedy Central joined the melee:
The above missive was quickly followed by:
By Friday morning the tide was turning as the #CancelColbert hashtag was being used to show support for Colbert rather than a point of protest. Many Twitter users found humor in the digital brouhaha with some even questioning whether or not the hashtag was actually part of Colbert's satirical shtick:
Others attempted to highlight the satire and the original point Colbert was trying to make, or were simply baffled by the outrage:
Twitter user @MarkBLP from Pennsylvania took the humor angle a step further and wondered if the whole thing was started by Colbert's Comedy Central alum and former "Daily Show" regular John Oliver: