Japanese public broadcaster condemned for 'racist' Black Lives Matter cartoon

Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, has been condemned after it aired a caricature of a black man in an attempt to explain the Black Lives Matter protests to viewers, which has left many deeply offended.

The network has since been forced to apologise, after it came under fire for the anime, which has been described as both insensitive, racist, and misleading by punters.

The clip, which was taken down on Tuesday, however has been widely shared on Twitter, featured black men and women standing on a burned-out street with their fists raised and stomping their feet, as one man attempted to explain the cause of the recent protests that began in the US following the death of George Floyd, before spreading throughout the world.

Floyd was a 46-year-old unarmed black man who lost his life after a police officer was seen kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes.

However, the video – which aired on programme Sekai no Ima, or The World Now – not only portrayed African Americans in an offensive and stereotypical way, with the main protagonist of the animation being an angry, tank-wearing musclebound man, but it failed to mention the death of Floyd nor the police brutality people have been protesting.

According to the clip, the protests – which were also held in Japan in Tokyo and Osaka – were started due to the pay gap between white and black Americans, which has been made worse due to the coronavirus crisis.

The man was holding a crying purse as he angrily shouted, and viewers were livid at the depiction on all levels.

Japan Times columnist and author Baye McNeil wrote alongside a grab of the video: ‘I’m sorry we do not accept your lame excuses anymore. You claim ignorance about blackness and YET you feel empowered to make offensive racist commentary on black issues / #BLM without consulting anyone! If you need help we are here but THIS BS is #UNACCEPTABLE.’

While interim head of the U.S. embassy in Tokyo Joseph M.Young tweeted: ‘While we understand @NHK’s intent to address complex racial issues in the United States, it’s unfortunate that more thought and care didn’t go into this video.

‘The caricatures used are offensive and insensitive.’

‘The one-minute-21-second clip aimed to show the hardships, such as economic disparity, that many African Americans in the U.S. suffer. ‘

It went on: ‘However, we have decided to take the clip offline after receiving criticism from viewers that it did not correctly express the realities of the problem. We regret lacking proper consideration in carrying the clip, and apologize to everyone who was offended.’

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