Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Fired Over Past Joke About Holocaust

The Olympics opening ceremony’s director Kentaro Kobayashi had been dismissed only one day before the event.

Mr. Kobayashi’s dismissal, the latest in the scandals surrounding the games, comes after footage showed him allegedly making jokes about the Holocaust in the 1990s.

According to Japan’s Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto, the video ridiculed “painful facts of history.”

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were postponed last year due to the Covid-19 crisis.

But some unfortunate events have threatened hopes of a 2021 no-trouble event. This year, three Olympics workers were forced to resign.

Songwriter Keigo Oyamada resigned last week after past bullying remarks. In March, Olympic Games creative chief Hiroshi Sasaki stepped down after poking fun at plus-size comedian Naomi Watanabe.

Also, in February, Yoshiro Mori resigned as head of the organizing committee after inappropriate comments about women.

The latest scandal comes after a sketch showing former comedian Mr. Kobayashi and a companion pretending to be children’s entertainers emerged.

In the clip, Mr. Kobayashi refers to some paper dolls while he talks to his colleague, saying: “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust.”

Soon after, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the comments were outrageous and unacceptable.

Mr. Suga stated that Friday’s event had to go as planned.

But the organizers have considered different options regarding how to hold the ceremony after Mr. Kobayashi’s dismissal. It will be held with only 950 attendees at the stadium to reduce the risks of spreading Covid-19.

Mr. Kobayashi also responded to his dismissal through a statement.

“Entertainment shouldn’t make people uncomfortable. I understand my stupid choice of words at the time was wrong, and I’m sorry,” it read.

The recent scandals have only increased the mass unrest regarding the Olympics.

Results of a recent poll showed that around 55% of people residing in Japan were opposed to holding the games.

Critics fear the event could end up becoming a cluster that massively spreads the virus, Reuters news agency said.

The first games of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have already started, and Japan’s host softball team won its first game on Wednesday.

But the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Committee’s head admitted this week that he had not ruled out the option to cancel the event.