NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, took down an anime about the Black Lives Matter movement after receiving complaints that the animation was offensive and failed to explain the main racial issues.
The broadcaster took down the 80-second clip on Sunday after heavy criticism for its content and lack of thorough explanation on current racial issues in the United States, according to CNN.
We at NHK would like to sincerely apologize for a computer animation clip posted on our Twitter account. Our statement:https://t.co/UbPffgpH0Z
— 世界のいま Mr.シップ (@nhk_sekaima) June 9, 2020
“The clip was posted after a lack of consideration, and we would like to apologise to anyone who was made to feel uncomfortable,” NHK wrote.
The video was made as part of a children’s series about world events. It features a Black man standing on the street with the U.S. protest in the background, explaining the issues pertaining to the huge wealth gap between Black and White Americans.
What a stereotypical, prejudiced, and dumbed down misrepresentation of what is happening in Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, coming from Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK. Shameful.https://t.co/aS0hJ1hAw6
— Ken Mogi (@kenmogi) June 9, 2020
It also pointed out the high unemployment rates the community is facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the anime failed to shed light on the events that ignited the protests, mainly the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the police brutality that the Black community has been experiencing for decades.
On Tuesday, Joseph M. Young, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, called the anime “offensive and insensitive.”
“While we understand NHK’s intent to address complex racial issues in the United States, it’s unfortunate that more thought and care didn’t go into this video,” Young said. “Learning about racial justice and equality is a lifelong endeavor. A great place to start is the ‘Talking About Race’ exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.”
Online users condemned the video and called it offensive, including African American Tokyo-based writer Baye McNeil.
I’m sorry we do not accept your lame excuses anymore. You claim ignorance about blackness and YET you feel empowered to make offensive racist commentary on black issues / #BLM without consulting anyone! If you need help we are here but THIS BS is #UNACCEPTABLE @nhk_sekaima pic.twitter.com/Y43IKcV953
— Baye McNeil (@BayeMcneil) June 8, 2020
“There is absolutely nothing redeeming about it!” he said in his tweet. “If you don’t understand the real issues in the US you should just ask, or do your homework! Not give your viewers nonsense and misinformation while clowning us like this! This is so bad!”
Feature Image via @BayeMcneil