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#CancelColbert is a Twitter hashtag campaign launched to rally up support for the cancellation of Comedy Central’s satirical news show The Colbert Report in March 2014 after the show host Stephen Colbert tweeted a joke that was perceived as racially insensitive towards Asian Americans on Twitter.
On the March 26th, 2014, The Colbert Report featured a segment titled “The Sport Report” in which Stephen Colbert mocks Daniel Snyder, the owner of the NFL team Washington Red Skins, for starting a foundation to support Native Americans while maintaining his team’s offensive name. In lampooning Snyder’s contradictory stance on racial relations, Colbert proposed that he would start his own offensively named charity, saying:
“I am willing to show Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”
On March 27th, the Twitter account @ColbertReport, which is an official Comedy Central account but not handled by Colbert or the show’s writers, tweeted the quote (shown below). It was removed less than 24 hours later.
About two hours after @ColbertReport sent out the tweet Twitter user @Suey_Park re-introduced the hashtag #CancelColbert, which was first used on May 21st, 2013, by @DRM4GOD who was angered when Colbert seemed to make light of the Benghazi scandal, in a tweet calling the remark racist.
#CancelColbert because white liberals are just as complicit in making Asian Americans into punchlines and we aren’t amused.— Suey Park (@suey_park) March 27, 2014
In less than 24 hours the hashtag was tweeted out over 49,000 times.
About six hours after the initial tweet, @ColbertReport sent out a tweet to clarify their connection to the show, saying,
For the record
ColbertReport is not controlled by Stephen Colbert or his show. He is @StephenAtHome Sorry for the confusion #CancelColbert</p>— The Colbert Report (ColbertReport) March 27, 2014
An hour later they followed up with a further clarifying tweet which read,
This is a Comedy Central account, with no oversight from Stephen/show. Here is quoted line in context http://on.cc.com/1dyeQri #cancelcolbert— The Colbert Report (@ColbertReport) March 28, 2014
Shortly after on March 28th, Colbert tweeted from his official Twitter account @StephenAtHome jokingly throwing his support behind #CancelColbert and again pointing out @ColbertReport is not controlled by the show,
#CancelColbert – I agree! Just saw
ColbertReport tweet. I share your rage.Who is that, though? I'm @StephenAtHome http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/b6cwb3/sport-report---professional-soccer-toddler--golf-innovations---washington-redskins-charm-offensive …</p>— Stephen Colbert (StephenAtHome) March 28, 2014
In less than 24 hours the tweeted gained over 1,900 retweets and over 2,500 favorites.
News Media Coverage
The same day, Suey Park, who started the hashtag trend, appeared on the live stream news show Huff Post Live to discuss her issues with Colbert’s remarks and the hashtag.
Several major websites also published essays and think pieces about the larger context of the Twitter outrage, including Jezebel’s “What We Can Learn From the Embarrassing #CancelColbert Shitstorm,” which outlined what fans should do when they believe their favorite show or celebrity is being unfairly attacked online, and Salon’s “Twitter killed Stephen Colbert’s joke," which defended Colbert’s quip as a “totally legitimate dig,” while questioning whether the joke, taken out of its context, was well-suited for the shortform microblogging service.
The Huffington Post – Colbert Report’ Asian Joke On Twitter Leads To #CancelColbert