Japanese-American group outraged by film

LOS ANGELES —

A Japanese-American group on Monday demanded an apology over a film starring Jeremy Piven due to a scene satirically depicting the mob beating of an Asian-American man.

“The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard,” which opened in sixth place in the North American box office last Friday, is a comedy about a down-and-out used-car salesman played by Piven who tries to make it big with a Fourth of July sale.

On the trailer seen on the movie’s official website, Piven’s character is seen shouting at an Asian American employee at the dealership: “Don’t get me started on Pearl Harbor. We are Americans and they are the enemy! Never again!”

As the Asian-American—played by Korean American actor Ken Jeong—sheepishly joins in chanting “Never again!,” an older white man says, “Let’s get him!” and the employees beat him up.

The Japanese-American Citizens League said Piven’s character also used the racial slur “Jap” in the movie and, acknowledging it was a hate crime, asked employees to say the Asian American was attacking them with a samurai sword.

Saying the film showed a “shocking lack of judgment,” the group said the producers “need to apologize because they crossed a line in thinking they could use a racial slur simply for the sake of a laugh.”

“Japanese-Americans are particularly offended because we painfully recall how slurs were used during the 1940s to vilify and demean our community, resulting in a forced eviction from our homes,” it said.

Authorities herded more than 100,000 Japanese Americans, most of them U.S. citizens, into internment camps months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, dragging the United States into World War II.

Paramount Pictures, owned by conglomerate Viacom, said the film—distributed in the United States by its division Paramount Vantage—“satirizes and exaggerates the extremes of the sales and celebrity culture.”

“We understand that when presented out of context, jokes and situations in the movie about a variety of topics might be offensive to some people,” it said in a statement.

“To be very clear, ‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard’ is in no way meant to be mean-spirited, disparaging or hurtful to any individuals and we regret any offense taken,” it said.

It is the first movie for Piven since he appeared in the hit HBO television series “Entourage.”

Wire reports

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    While I'm tempted to say it's just a stupid movie so get over it, the fact that a Chinese-American was actually killed during the detroit anti-japan heydays of the 80s by white auto workers, makes this little "joke" undeniably in very very bad taste. In fact it's in such bad taste that Paramount shouldn't be allowed to brush it off as they did.

  • 0

    timorborder

    This sounds like a real funny movie (not). The clown in charge (Piven) needs to realize that not only did Americans of Japanese heritage sign up in droves to fight for the US during World War 2, many of them did so while their folks were being held in detention camps. The question might be asked, what did Piven's own grandparents do when called on to act?

    As for beating up Asian-Americans, Mr. Piven should hope that his form of low-brow "humor" does not have a flow-on effect in the wider community.

  • 0

    pawatan

    While I'm tempted to say it's just a stupid movie so get over it,

    Well, I will say that. It sounds like it's in bad taste (I won't pass judgment for sure unless I see it, which doesn't sound likely), but not anything worth getting too bothered over.

  • 0

    Sarge

    Sounds like yet another dumb movie.

  • 0

    Klein2

    This is why Carlos Mencias is without a doubt the most creative and inspiring comedian genius of our time. He takes human hatred and makes it seem to be an acceptable part of "comedy." Now others will emulate him. We can all thank Carlos for showing us the way.

  • 0

    Okinawamike

    Yes because Japanese comedians wearing black face and Hispanic Hip Hip get ups are not in bad taste.

    They are comic genius! Now take another aluminum pan to the head! Smack!

    And you are all sure Piven wrote all the lines for this movie?

  • 0

    stirfry

    get a life its just a movie

  • 0

    Ninjazilla

    the movie is bombing (no pun intended) anyway.

  • 0

    noypikantoku

    Come on! it's just a movie, analyze the characters first before complaining, for example if Piven's character is a stupid guy , then he has to act like stupid, and what does stupid guys do!!??... he has to portray a person who has that kind of attitude , he's just doing his job as an actor and the production is just doing their job as film makers ! How about the way Japanese use black guys as a laughing stuff in their TV commercials here and even white guys...some of them were asked to do stupid things , because a black guy dancing in some funny clothes is funny for them...(my friend did some commercials here and was asked to do stupid things), atleast this movie has some real characters and story, compare to some racist gaijin tv comercials here, no body complains about them, no body stops them..in fact it's tolerated here, if you dont like the movie then dont watch it! but to ask for forgiveness!?? come on!

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    Comments about Japanese TV and comedians are utterly irrelevant. Japan doesn't even have laws against racial discrimination so what do you expect? The article is talking about the United States. And i tend to hold my own country to a higher standard considering our history, population, and laws on the books.

  • 0

    DenDon

    it looks really funny, can't wait to see it. satire is a large part of comedy, look it up

  • 0

    Noliving

    to be fair timorborder, most of those japanese that signed up for the US army were pretty much forced into the US army by the US government, at those camps they would regularily ask the japanese males if they would fight for the US, if they said yes they were literally grabbed right then and their and forced into the US military.

  • 0

    Airion

    What makes the joke funny (assuming it is, not getting into whether it's quality comedy or not)? When people laugh at the scene, what are they laughing about? I think what's funny is the ridiculousness of the character's racism. People aren't laughing at the Asian-American character, they're laughing at the ridiculous racism of Piven's character. I think this is an acceptable form of comedy when racists attitudes are displayed by comedic characters. See also Ricky Gervais or Steve Carell in The Office.

  • 0

    timorborder

    Noliving - I think you have got that wrong. If you read what Daniel Inoue and other Japanese-American veterans wrote at the time, there was a strong undercurrent among older Japanese to see their young men fight for the US due to the principal that they were Americans, irrespective of the racism that was often encountered on the West Coast of the US at the time. Indeed, at one stage the Nissei units in the US Army were forced to call a truce to recruiting activities because they had more applicants than they could handle.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    at those camps they would regularily ask the japanese males if they would fight for the US, if they said yes they were literally grabbed right then and their and forced into the US military.

    They were not forced into U.S. Army but a voluntary choice. Actually, the U.S. military asked Japanese males of their allegiance inside the interment camp. Poston, Tule Lake, Manzanaar, and other camps throughout the west coast. The ones the accepted the allegiance fought for the U.S. in Europe, and most decorated was the 442 Regimental Combat Team that fought in Italy, France, and Germany, but had the highest casualty.

  • 0

    noypikantoku

    OssanAmerica: So, for you when there is no law against racial slur they can just do and tolerate these racist japanese jokes? For movie it depends, because there are some characters that need to be portrayed, unlike making fun of someone's native features to sell a coffee or what ever or to put color on his own face to look black or white because he thinks its funny is a different story, people who complain about these movie needs to do some character analyzation ,for example if I made a movie about a German racist, of course I need to show a character that portrays that German Racist, the movie and the story needs it! The director needs to make the Lead actor be loved by the audience and on the other hand the antagonist needs to be hated, so what are the components to make these antagonist be hated? Caharacter analisys!

  • 0

    noypikantoku

    sorry I mean character Analysis...

  • 0

    SiouxGirl

    In comedy, everyone takes a shot. I don't mind if it's funny and we're making fun of ourselves, but this movie sounds like such a dog that I'll be skipping it even when it comes out on cable. I'd be surprised if it was anything but sophomoric.

  • 0

    DenDon

    will ferrel is in it, can't be bad

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    OssanAmerica: So, for you when there is no law against racial slur they >can just do and tolerate these racist japanese jokes?

    noypikantoku- you're free to tolerate it if you want. or make a fuss. Whatever. This article isn't about Japan. Why don't you google VINCENT CHIN then tell me if the scene in the movie isn't in really bad taste.

  • 0

    noypikantoku

    OssanAmerica: The Movie is not a propaganda to Hate Japanese, it says some negative things about Japan just because the movie is portraying a character who maybe hates asian or Japan, then of course if you have that kind of character in your movie , how will you show to the audience and make his anti japanese character work ? the movie is not even saying to the people that "Hey Audience , Love this Character everybody should be like him!" No! analyze the movie carefully before reacting, if they don't like it , then don't watch it..... and tell your friends not to watch it, but to ask for forgiveness... I don't think the movie did something wrong, they just showed some reality that there are some people like that exist around, and showing that is not a mistake I think...

  • 0

    noypikantoku

    Plus this is a movie, you have the choice to buy the ticket or not, to rent the DVD or not... it's not a TV show...

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    The Japanese-American Citizens League said Piven’s character also used the racial slur “Jap” in the movie

    I object to being called "Aussie" instead of Australian, and I also find it offensive when the term "Brit" is used to describe a British person, as well as the derogatory term "Mongol" to describe a Mongolian.

    Get a grip, "Japanese-American Citizens League", bunch of zeros.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    The Japanese-American Citizens League said Piven’s character also used >the racial slur “Jap” in the movie I object to being called "Aussie" instead of Australian, and I also find >it offensive when the term "Brit" is used to describe a British person, >as well as the derogatory term "Mongol" to describe a Mongolian. Get a grip, "Japanese-American Citizens League", bunch of zeros.

    I do think you ought to educate yourself about the experience of Americans of Japanese descent in the United States prior to and especially during WWII. To most Japanese people I know, "Jap" doesn't mean much. But to Japanese-Americans, it's something else entirely.

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