NEWS > ENTERTAINMENT > ACLU TAKES FAMILY GUY CREATORS TO TASK OVER ASIAN REPORTER
ACLU TAKES FAMILY GUY CREATORS TO TASK OVER ASIAN REPORTER
July 26 2009
Hollywood, CA – From the beginning ‘Family Guy’ did things a little different. Envisioned as a 21st century version of ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘The Flintstones’ the show’s sometimes absurdist and always irreverent take on family life has been a
runaway hit since it’s return to television in 2005. With an alcoholic dog, a baby set on
world domination, and a never appropriate lead character, Family Guy has often walked the line between good taste and outright offensiveness, walking into the latter more often than not.
Now the ACLU has taken notice and demanded an end to certain aspects of the show, specifically racial references. In particular the organization is taking offence to the reporter infrequently featured on the program and referred to as ‘Asian Reporter Tricia Takanawa’. The ACLU is also taking issue with the depiction of Ollie Williams, the weather reporter who yells everything. Amongst other things the organization is
asking the show producers to remove the ‘Asian’ eponym from the character and that the Ollie Williams character stop shouting in such an exaggerated and ‘African-American fashion’. The organization is reportedly organizing a boycott should producers decline their requests.
“We live in a much different world than the one in which ‘Family Guy’ was conceived. We live in a world of much greater tolerances and even embrace of other races and other cultures and we would like all of our cultural touchstones to reflect that. In a country where we can have an African-American President the last thing we need is for a television show to bring up the hatreds of the past,” said the ACLU in a statement. “We are calling on the producers of Family Guy and Fox Television to remove these racial references and
treat all the characters on the show as equals. Now is a time to embrace our
differences and come together as Americans. We have a unique opportunity in American history and we must not lose that for the sake of a few cheap laughs.”
‘Family Guy’ has always been billed as a comedy and has never proclaimed itself a bastion of racial tolerance or equality.
“Well the thing is the whole joke revolves around her being called an Asian Reporter. That’s the whole joke and if we remove it then we just wouldn’t have a joke anymore and therefore eliminate the need to have the character at all. I can’t see what good that would do and would just eliminate some of the ethnic diversity that we have on the show,” said series creator Seth McFarlane. “If we did that then all these characters would go away and we would end up with a bunch of ethnic animated
characters out looking for work. If that’s what the ACLU is looking to do then they need to understand the pay down with those actions. Black or White, Asian or whatever if they aren’t funny they aren’t getting on the show and right now that isn’t something that we are willing to do.”
The ACLU made no mention of altering the character of Greased-up deaf guy which is believed to be a result of the character being white and therefore eliciting less of an outrage than ethnically or racially based offences.
“It’s a very difficult position for the show and the network to be in. On the one hand they are being marginally offensive but on the other they are being funny. That has always been a difficult balance for comedians no matter what field they are working in and comes to them now,” said Scrape TV Entertainment analyst Tracey Temple. “It’s a very difficult thing to be sensitive to everyone’s concerns, especially when you aren’t even remotely trying. That’s going to make it a lot more difficult to reach any kind of compromise.”
No Asian reporters we contacted had any comment on the situation.