The line between satire and ignorance is often thin, and a taken-out-of-context line from The Colbert Report seems to have crossed it today. “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever,” The Colbert Report‘s verified Twitter account that bears Colbert’s image tweeted today to an instant backlash that spawned the fast-trending #CancelColbert. The line was lifted verbatim from a segment on the Comedy Central show last night about the move by the owner of the Washington Redskins to launch a foundation supporting Native Americans, but without that context, it came across the Twitter universe as an uncalled-for jab at Asians. Amidst the firestorm of negative reaction, the tweet was deleted.
With the controversy far from subsiding, Comedy Central is not officially commenting on the incident but attempted to distance Colbert from the ill-advised remark with two tweets, “For the record @ColbertReport is not controlled by Stephen Colbert or his show… This is a Comedy Central promotional account, with no oversight from Stephen or his show, that quoted a line out of context.” Colbert tried to make light of the controversy, feigning outrage on his personal Twitter account, @StephenAtHome:
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) March 28, 2014