Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony director fired for past Holocaust comments

The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee announced that the director of the Games’ opening ceremony was removed from his role on Thursday over his past comments about the Holocaust during a comedy performance.

Why it matters: The opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games was due to start on Friday night.

Driving the news: Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto confirmed the dismissal over a 1998 clip, shared online, in which a man identified as the now-former opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi jokes about the Nazi atrocity in a skit titled, “Let’s play Holocaust.”

“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” Hashimoto said, per AP. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”

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