Olympic opening ceremony director ousted for Holocaust joke

The Tokyo Organising Committee stated Thursday that Kentaro Kobayashi, the director of the Olympics opening ceremony, has been removed from his position following news reports concerning his past statements about the Holocaust.

According to Japanese media sites, in a screenplay for his comedy performance in 1998, Kobayashi made light of the Nazis’ mass murder of 6 million Jews, stating, “Let’s play Holocaust.” Kobayashi’s remarks drew immediate condemnation, especially from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which criticised what it called anti-Semitic humour by the comedian. Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. His dismissal comes the day before Friday’s opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games. Earlier this week, a composer whose music is expected to be used at the opening ceremony was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews.