One French gymnastics commentator has stirred up the internet’s political correctness militia with a seemingly racist remark in relation to Pokémon Go.
French gymnast Thomas Bouhail, a silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and now-coach of the French national team, was serving as an announcer and analyst at a women’s gymnastics event at the Rio Olympics when he referred to Japanese gymnastics team as a bunch of “little Pikachus.”
The comment in it’s entire context was:
“They are smiling like cartoon characters; they look like a bunch of little Pikachus.”
— Arrêt sur Images (@arretsurimages) August 9, 2016
While his comment likely had no racist or offensive intent behind it, Bouhail was subsequently attacked on Twitter, but mostly by French citizens. In Japan, the comment was paraphrased and caused little controversy.
Netizens still weighed in with many finding the comment endearing:
“Small Pikachus, hahaha! How cute.”
— ゆりり (@35Knmm) August 11, 2016
“Why is everyone so against these Frenchman? Pikachus are pretty”
“Is this real discrimination? This is a cute comparison.”
“Looking from any side, I can’t see any discrimination. Though I don’t like Pokemon GO,”
The Superior Council of Audiovisual of France has so far received several complaints from anti-racist organizations including the Representative Council of Black Associations over the comment.