Olympics Opening Ceremony director fired over Holocaust skit

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·Sports Reporter
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The creative director of the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Kentaro Kobayashi (pictured left) has been fired after on old skit of him joking about the 'Holocaust' emerged. (Getty Images)
The creative director of the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Kentaro Kobayashi (pictured left) has been fired after on old skit of him joking about the 'Holocaust' emerged. (Getty Images)

The Tokyo Olympics has already been the most chaotic Games in modern history and it is only getting worse after the creative director of the Opening Ceremony has been fired over a decade-old skit on the Holocaust.

Less than 48 hours before the opening ceremony was due to officially kick-off the Olympic Games, creative director Kentaro Kobayashi was stood down and a full review was announced.

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In recent days, as the Tokyo Olympics get set to begin, news media called attention to a 1998 comedic act in which Kobayashi made light of Nazi Germany's mass murder of millions of Jews.

Kobayashi has been in charge of the Opening Ceremony's program since 2019.

"It came to light that during a past performance, (he) used language that mocked a tragic fact of history," Tokyo 2020 Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto told reporters.

"The organising committee has decided to relieve Kobayashi of his post," she added.

In the sketch, Kobayashi and a comedy partner pretend to be a pair of famous children's TV entertainers.

As they brainstorm an activity involving paper, Kobayashi refers to some paper doll cutouts, describing them as "the ones from that time you said 'let's play the Holocaust", sparking laughter from the audience.

The pair then joke about how a television producer was angered by the suggestion of a Holocaust activity.

According to reporter Motoko Rich, Hashimoto said there would be a full review of the Opening Ceremony program.

The sketch sparked shock from some in Japan.

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Kobayashi drew widespread condemnation for the sketch and the backlash was swift.

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Kobayashi's dismissal is just the latest in a string of scandals to rock the Tokyo Opening Ceremony and the Games.

This week, Opening Ceremony composer Keigo Oyamada was fired after former remarks of his resurfaced.

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The composer's departure follows that of several key Tokyo 2020 officials including former chief organiser Yoshiro Mori who stepped down over sexist comments.

Organisers also said they would not use the four-minute-long composition by Oyamada in Friday's ceremony.

On top of the departures, Tokyo officials are fighting a fierce battle to keep the rising Covid-19 numbers associated with the Games under control.

with AFP

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