Bowen Yang, Joel Kim Booster call out media for repeatedly mixing them up
By Michelle De Pacina
December 8, 2023
Asian American comedians Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster criticized media outlets The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and Out for repeatedly confusing them with one another.
Yang calls out THR: On Yang’s most recent episode of his podcast “Las Culturistas” with co-host Matt Rogers, he called out THR for confusing him with Joel Kim Booster in an article discussing actor Julianna Margulies’ controversial remarks against Black and queer people for supporting Palestine.
On the podcast’s “I Don’t Think So, Honey” segment, Rogers accused Margulies’ comments of being racist, homophobic and transphobic comments, while Yang agreed and added THR’s mix up.
“Also, I don’t think so honey: Hollywood Reporter for still confusing me and Joel Kim Booster in an article about this whole Juliana Margulies thing. An article that is reporting on racism,” Yang said.
“How ironic is that? It made me so upset,” Rogers replied. “It’s an article reporting on racism and then you do the racist bullshit of ‘Saturday Night Live comedian Joel Kim Booster.’ This is your job, these trades, this is your f*cking job to get this sh*t right.”
Who is who?: Yang is known for his role on “Saturday Night Live,” where he became the first Chinese American to become a cast member on the TV show in 2019 and made history becoming the first Chinese American “SNL” featured player to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2021.
Booster, who is of Korean descent, is a stand-up comedian and actor who is known for the 2022 Hulu romantic comedy “Fire Island,” which he wrote, produced and starred in.
Booster’s response: Booster also took to X to address the issue, sharing a screenshot of the mistake in THR’s article.
“Y’all. Isn’t it your literal job to tell people in my industry apart??? Please use my preferred credit, Saturday Night Live Comedian’s Friend!!” he tweeted.
Booster also noted that this was the second time THR confused him with Yang. He shared a tweet from THR in 2019, showing a photo of Booster with the headline “Get to know #SNL’s newest cast member @bowenyang.”
Out’s cherry on top: The situation was further escalated when Out published an article about the mix-up but also confused Yang and Booster. In the piece posted on Dec. 6, the Out writer attributed a quote from Yang to Booster and also wrote: “Booster and Kim continue to be two of the funniest comedians working today.” However, “Booster” and “Kim” are the same person. Both errors have since been corrected.
Booster’s last straw: Booster shared a screenshot of Out’s error to X, tweeting, “The deep irony of this post is Out ALSO misidentifying us. What is happening. This feels like a social experiment. Listen. People have been confusing Bowen and I for almost a decade now… Bowen and I promised each other that this year we’d suppress our urge to make the people who mix us up feel better afterwards. No more ‘no worries you’re okay, haha’ to assuage people’s guilt. I still give people a lot of grace but sometimes it’s good for people to sit in it.”
Accuracy in journalism: The repeated confusion raised questions about the media’s responsibility to correctly identify its subjects. The issue emphasizes the importance of accurate representation in media, with concerns surrounding media accuracy amid industry challenges, such as layoffs and cost-cutting measures.
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