Kat Ahn criticises The Office for racist jokes 15 years after she appeared as guest star
Kat Ahn recalled how she was told to shut up and be grateful for the role on the sets of The Office
Korean-American Actress Kat Ahn has criticised the American sitcom The Office for its racist jokes and stereotyping of Asian actors, including her. She appeared in an episode titled A Benihana Christmas 15 years ago and calls the experience demeaning.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Ahn recalled how she was told to shut up and be grateful for the role on the sets of The Office. “Actors have no power until they become a star,” she added.
The episode showed Michael Scott (Steve Carell) nicknaming a restaurant he is visiting as “Asian Hooters,” He brings back two Asian waitresses to his office Christmas party and uses a sharpie on one of them. Ahn was cast as one of the two waitresses.
Ahn said that initially she was excited to land a role in one of the most popular NBC sitcoms. But all her excitement fizzled out once she realised that she was “just there to be the joke.”
The racist jokes affected her in real life too as once a co-worker tried drawing on her arm with a sharpie just as in the episode.
"The storyline with myself and the other Asian American actresses is that we were the uglier versions of the actresses at the Benihana. Also that all Asian people look alike. We're one big monolith and just one big walking stereotype without any personality or any individuality, which is problematic. The whole joke was that all Asians look alike and that's why Michael Scott couldn't tell us apart” she added.
Former cast members of the show, Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) have already spoken on this matter saying the entire episode made them cringe. Currently, the two stars are hosting an Office re-watch podcast titled The Office Ladies.
Similarly, Rashida Jones who played Karen Filipelli, said that such scenes are very uncomfortable to watch.
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