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Jay Leno apologizes for past jokes about Asians

Jay Leno
Jay Leno attends the Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief held at Universal Studios Back Lot on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)

Jay Leno is issuing an apology for two decades of racist Asian jokes. Via Variety: “The apology comes after a nearly 15-year campaign from the activist group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) for remarks as recent as Variety‘s 2020 report that Leno cracked about Koreans eating dog meat — a complaint that offended numerous players on the set of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” “At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Leno said in a joint press release with MANAA leader Guy Aoki. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.” Leno continued, “At the time, there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don’t worry about it. Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either ‘We need to deal with this’ or ‘Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke.’ Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong.”