A video showcasing the Asian community, which was produced by the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works (and paid for with taxpayer money), is drawing some criticism.
In the video, a non-Asian man is dressed as a geisha girl and talks with a fake Japanese accent. The clip was shot at the Japanese Garden at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys.
“The Japanese water park is a beautiful, beautiful site with blooming, blooming lotus and water lilies,” the actor says in the video. The Japanese Garden uses recycled water, and the clip was apparently trying to highlight that fact, CBS Local reported.
Greg Kimura is the head of the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles. He was not a fan of the short film.
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“It’s just awful … it’s absolutely offensive. I find it personally offensive and in poor taste. It’s embarrassing, it’s embarrassing to even watch it,” he said.
Kimura added: “It brings back all the worst stereotypes. The accents, the whiteface. I’m embarrassed for everybody who is involved in this. If there’s a remedy to this, it would be something like an apology and taking it down immediately.”
A spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Public Works, Cora Jackson-Fossett, admitted the video was in bad taste.
“We apologize profusely that we missed the mark totally,” she said. “We made a mistake. We’re extremely sorry. It was an attempt at humor that failed.”
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Officials for the city said that all future videos would face a much more rigorous review process.
The video is below: