Tina Fey Gets Called Out for Fetishizing the Abuse of Asian Women in ‘Mean Girls’

tina fey

After acknowledging the blackface used in multiple episodes of “30 Rock,” Tina Fey is being called out for her past shows and movies that were offensive toward the Asian community as well. 

Sitcom caused pain: The 50-year-old comedy writer/actress, who created and starred in “30 Rock,” recently asked to pull out four episodes of the show from syndication. 

  • The move comes as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain support through protests sparked by the death of George Floyd under police custody last month.
  • In a letter addressed to streaming and syndication platforms, Fey referred to episodes aired on NBC from 2006 to 2013, three of which featured characters in blackface, reports Vulture.
  • “As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation,” Fey wrote. “I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBC Universal for honoring this request.”
  • While some welcomed her efforts, some social media users were quick to point out that Fey has more problematic content from her past shows to address.

Problematic depictions of Asians: On Tuesday, Twitter users began highlighting content that depicted Asians in a negative light from Fey’s past work on “Mean Girls,” “Sisters” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” among others. 

  • “Tina Fey also has a s**tty track record when it comes to depicting Asian people, women in particular. Mean Girls, Sisters, 30 Rock—the underlying ‘joke’ is that they’re hyper-sexual, and looking for green cards/can’t speak English,” a Twitter user wrote.
  • “But @nbc’s racism doesn’t stop there,” another user said. “Their darling, tina fey, is one of the worst anti-Asian racists there is. in mean girls, she clearly plays on dragon lady and prostitute stereotypes of Asian women.”
  • “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which Fey created with her co-writer Robert Carlock, has an episode from 2016 that had Titus Burgess’ character dressed up in yellow-face. 
  • Starring in a play as a geisha, the character was criticized by members of the Asian community in the episode itself. In the episode, the Asian critics were portrayed as villains for participating in online trolling and bullying of the character. 
  • In Fey’s 2004 film “Mean Girls,” Asian women were portrayed to be promiscuous, with the characters of Trang Pak (Ky Pham) and Sun Jin Dinh (Danielle Nguyen) fighting over a much older gym teacher.

  • Some have also brought up the character names which are blatantly racist, making a joke by mashing up Vietnamese and Korean names. 

  • Viewers were also reminded of the problematic character of Jacqueline “Jackie” Voorhees, a woman of Native American ancestry played by Jane Krakowski, a White actress. In multiple episodes focusing on the character’s ethnicity, Voorhees was shown engaging in a number of stereotypes.

Feature Image (left) via MOVIE CLIPS, (right) Austin Carpentieri

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