I don’t think I’ve ever watched a single episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno yet I know how much he likes making jokes about Asian people eating dogs, that’s how much he loves them. Even as recently as last year Jay was reportedly making the same hack joke, and calling him out on that shit is part of the reason Gabrielle Union got the boot from America’s Got Talent. Jay’s been obstinately holding on to the same shtick like that Flintstones boulder’s been holding onto the bottom of his face. However, according to Variety, after 15 years of riding his ass, activist group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) has managed to pull out an apology, thanks to the fact that Jay Leno will never, ever, ever retire and just let us be.
Variety reports that after MANAA spoke with Jay’s new bosses at Fox, where he hosts the game show You Bet Your Life, Jay was finally persuaded to apologize for “making fun of our enemy North Korea,” even though “there was a ring of truth” to it. He also says that he knew in his heart it was wrong.
The majority of Leno’s old jokes perpetuated stereotypes about Asian communities consuming dog meat. Long outspoken about his routines, MANAA’s Aoki said he appealed to Leno’s new employers at Fox, where he hosts the game show “You Bet Your Life,” initially offering them an ultimatum of firing the host or MANAA would approach sponsors to boycott the project.
The apology comes after a nearly 15-year campaign from the activist group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) for remarks as recent as Variety‘s 2020 report that Leno cracked about Koreans eating dog meat — a complaint that offended numerous players on the set of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Leno said in a joint press release with MANAA leader Guy Aoki. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.”
Leno continued, “At the time, there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don’t worry about it. Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either ‘We need to deal with this’ or ‘Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke.’ Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong.”
In light of that, Leno said, “I am issuing this apology. I do not consider this particular case to be another example of cancel culture but a legitimate wrong that was done on my part. MANAA has been very gracious in accepting my apology. I hope that the Asian American community will be able to accept it as well, and I hope I can live up to their expectations in the future.”
Is it hollow? Yes, it’s hollower than an asshole that has just had an apology ripped from its bowels. Is it sincere? Sure, it’s as sincere as the raised middle fingers waving in the air anytime Jay is seen tearing through town in one of his ridiculous million-dollar jalopies. Is it enough? Well, I guess it was enough for Fox. He’s still got his job which he must desperately need. Poor man has his eye on a 5th 1916 Crane-Simplex Model 5 Holbrook Skiff. This one is green!