New Seth MacFarlane Sitcom Called Racist By Asian-American Group, Wants Pilot Reshot

Two weeks ago, NewsBusters reported Seth MacFarlane's new sitcom Dads was full of "disparaging portrayals of white men."

The upcoming show came under more heat Monday when the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans asked that the pilot be reshot to remove racist depictions of Asians.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Guy Aoki, founding president of MANAA, sent a letter to Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly, COO Joe Earley, senior vp comedy Marcus Wiley and senior vp current programming James Oh saying, "Our community can't continue to be the target of racially insensitive jokes."

"Fox has an opportunity to fix fatal flaws in the pilot and to improve the show's chances for success when it premieres next month," Aoki wrote. "We are asking you to reshoot the inappropriate scenes of the pilot. Considering the consistent feedback from our community and television critics in general -- and the creators saying they hadn't properly defined their characters nor gotten used to their actors when they shot that first episode -- this sounds like a no-brainer."

One item noted in the letter was actress Brenda Song dressing up as a "sexy Asian schoolgirl" when the main characters met Chinese businessmen at their office.

The character played by Martin Mull also calls Asians "Orientals" without anyone correcting him.

"Will he later call blacks 'negroes?'" Aoki asked.

Deadline added to this Thursday:

At the screening back in July, the group said, one of the producers tried to excuse the racial/sexist humor as coming from the dads, who are of an older generation and “don’t know any better”. However, MANAA noted, the whole sexy, giggling Asian schoolgirl thing came from the sons. The organization also noted that, “given the level of hostility we felt in the Dads pilot, perhaps it should come as no surprise” that series co-creator Alec Sulkin had tweeted on the day of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, “If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, Ggoogle ‘Pearl Harbor death toll’.” (Sulkin later took down that tweet, explaining apologetically, in another tweet: “Yesterday death toll = 200. Today = 10 thousand. I am sorry for my insensitive tweet. It’s gone.” On the bright side, he got to recycle the gag, tweeting shortly after Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey, “If I you want to feel better about the floods in New Jersey, google MTV’s Jersey Shore.” )


Also interesting, Aoki told Deadline Fox isn't the only network guilty of racial insensitivy towards Asians.

He claimed that in CBS’s 2 Broke Girls, the male Asian character is frequently the butt of the jokes but never the black male character.

“They are fearful of black people who are angry,” Aoki told Deadline of the TV industry. "At this point they are not fearful of angry Asian people. That’s why [MANAA] exists.”

And they're clearly not fearful of angry white people.

As NewsBusters reported in its initial story about this sitcom, the show's star Seth Green told folks at the Television Critics Association's summer tour, "Just to be fair, these are some pretty disparaging portrayals of white men."

And Asians apparently.

It will be interesting to see how Fox and MacFarlane respond.

Stay tuned.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.