Comedian Matt Rife has been accused of racism after posting a tweet that supposedly poked fun at cast members of Bong Joon-ho’s history-changing “Parasite” at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.
The 23-year-old actor, who recently appeared in “Fresh Off the Boat,” “joked” that everyone at the Oscars were “waiting to see if the cast of ‘Parasite’ coughs” — an apparent reference to the notion linking people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean origin to the spread of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The tweet, which included the popular GIF of a sweating Jordan Peele, was quickly taken down but it was up long enough to stir some controversy from infuriated users.
In a follow-up tweet, which was also subsequently deleted, Rife clarified that it was just a “joke” and slammed those who reacted negatively as “a bunch of cry babies.”
Rife, who started doing standup comedy at 15, has toured around the world with big names such as Dane Cook, Ralphie May, Finesse Mitchell, Mike Epps and Deray Davis.
Currently based in Los Angeles, the Ohio native has also become the youngest male regular performer at the World Famous Laugh Factory.
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I love what i do. I’m decent at it and i’m getting better. And someday I’ll be great at it. Each person i can make laugh or feel enlightened by something i said or do, is so fulfilling. Flip side of that: there’s a TREMENDOUS amount of people who hate my fucking guts. Whether it be my face, my beliefs, or sense of humor. But that doesn’t bother me. I never stood a chance with those types of people. But there’s plenty of chance to bring a lot of happiness to a lot of good people. So thank you❤️ Let’s get it 🦾
Aside from “Fresh Off the Boat,” Rife also appeared in other TV shows, including MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out,” “The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars” and NBC’s “Bring the Funny.”
As of this writing, the comedian has more than 44,000 followers on Twitter and 250,000 followers on Instagram.
It’s unclear how heavy the backlash against Rife’s original tweet was but comments from offended Twitter users remain visible.
Below are some examples:
Rife can also be seen responding to some users. In one exchange, he defended his “joke,” denying both racism and ignorance:
In another thread, Rife told a user who accused him of “blatant racism” to “grow up.”