Kentaro Kobayashi, director of the Olympics opening ceremony, has been removed from his post following news reports about his past comments on the Holocaust, the Tokyo Organising Committee announced Thursday.
Reports about Kobayashi’s comments have quickly drawn criticism, including by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which condemned what it called anti-Semitic jokes by Kobayashi, a comedian.
According to Japanese media reports, Kobayashi made light of the mass murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis in a script for his comedy act in 1998, including saying, “Let’s play Holocaust.”
“Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide. The Nazi regime also gassed Germans with disabilities. Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of 6 million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics,” stated SWC Associate Dean and Global Social Action Director, Rabbi Abraham Cooper.
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