AAJA applauds work of OCA, Asian Pacific American Media Coalition over Jimmy Kimmel flap; ABC vows cultural sensitivity training

OCA and the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition announced this week the fruits of their work after taking ABC to task over an Oct. 16 segment on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” The segment, a cutesy roundtable discussion featuring Kimmel and a group of children, resulted in one child uttering “kill everyone in China” to address our country’s $1.3 trillion debt owed to China.

Many in our communities denounced Kimmel and his program. Protests sprung up at ABC stations across the country. Some members of Congress chided the program for perpetuating xenophobia. An electronic petition garnered the requisite support to force the White House to respond. (The White House said it had no authority over the matter.)

OCA and other groups demanded meetings with ABC executives. One such meeting occurred last month.

The Asian American Journalists Association applauds OCA, the media coalition and other groups for their work on the issue and for steadfastly seeking accountability from the network.

While AAJA usually confines its statements to matters involving news outlets, we find it heartening that advocacy groups such as OCA are stepping up to serve our communities in ways that go beyond the purview of a journalism organization such as AAJA.

As a result of the meeting with OCA and the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, ABC pulled the “Kids Table” feature from future broadcasts and pledged to hold cultural sensitivity training for network staff. ABC said it would also apologize. More importantly, the network vowed to include more Asian Pacific Americans in its programming and on its staff. (You can read OCA’s press release here.)

We hope that ABC will follow through with its promises, and we hope that the OCA and other partners in diversity will continue to serve as aggressive watchdogs for fair and respectful treatment of all our communities.

AAJA MediaWatch team