Fox Sports has canceled a college sports program and apologized to Asians after a video report on the show was criticized for making fun of Asian students’ accents and knowledge.
In “The College Experiment” segment, filmed on the University of Southern California (USC) campus, a presenter questions random Asian American students about college football, which they apparently know little about.
He then gets a series of them to speak to the camera, welcoming Colorado and Utah to the Pac-12, or Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western United States.
While the students gamely go along with his prompting, the presenter repeatedly makes fun of their accents, English ability and the fact that they don’t know much about the subject.
The video has since been removed from Fox’s website. But a University of Colorado ethnic studies professor said Tuesday that he finds it troubling, saying it perpetuates racist myths about Asians being “un-American.”
For the video, Bob Oschack — a comedian who labeled himself as an “investigative reporter” for Fox Sports — approached Asian students on the USC campus, asking them how they feel about CU and the University of Utah becoming the newest members of the Pac-12 conference.
In his introduction, Oschack says: “Let’s give the conference’s two newest members a good, old-fashioned, all-American welcome!”
He then appears to mock students’ accents, corrects their grammatical mistakes in a seemingly condescending tone and pretends to mistake what they’re saying for the sake of laughs.
One student enthusiastically say, “Welcome to Colorado and Utah!” and is interrupted by Oschack: “No, you’re saying welcome to Colorado and Utah. We’re in Los Angeles.” He also includes a student who admits that she doesn’t know much about football and says, “Welcome Colorado and Utah to the top 12.”
“This video was clearly offensive and inconsistent with the standards Fox Sports believes in, and we sincerely regret that it appeared,” said Fox Sports spokesman Lou D’Ermilio in a statement.
Citing a “breakdown” in the broadcaster’s internal processes, he added: “Fox Sports takes its responsibility in this regard very seriously, and as a result “The College Experiment” has been cancelled effective immediately.
“We sincerely apologize to the Asian and Asian American communities, and to everyone else who found this video offensive, and again to the University of Southern California, which was the unfortunate setting for the video.”
Daryl Maeda, a professor in Colorado University’s Ethnic Studies department, said Fox Sports should publicly reprimand the presenter, Bob Oschack, who labels himself an investigative reporter for the show.
“This is demeaning to millions of Asian Americans who have put down deep roots in the United States, claim English as their language and root vigorously for their favorite sports teams,” Maeda said, cited by local media.
“It has no place in a diverse and civil society,” he added.