TOKYO: The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee said Thursday that it has dismissed Kentaro Kobayashi as show director of the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies over his past anti-Semitic remarks.
Kobayashi, a former comedian, has been under fire for his past comedy act that mocked the Holocaust.
On Wednesday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a U.S. Jewish rights group, condemned Kobayashi over the act.
“Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics,” Abraham Cooper, SWC associate dean and global social action director, said in a statement.
The Tokyo Games organizing committee said Kobayashi had made remarks that mocked a painful historical fact during a past act. “We apologize for this situation just before the opening ceremony,” the committee said.
“We’re considering how to stage Friday’s Olympics opening ceremony,” Seiko Hashimoto, president of the organizing committee, said at a press conference. “We’ll reach a conclusion quickly.”
Hashimoto declined to resign as president of the committee.
In a statement, Kobayashi apologized for the remarks in question. “I now recognize that my choice of words was wrong,” he said.
In March, Hiroshi Sasaki resigned as creative director of the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies after coming under fire for comparing a plus-size female entertainer to a pig.
On Monday, Japanese musician Keigo Oyamada stepped down as a composer for the Olympics opening ceremony after facing a backlash over his past bullying behavior.