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Only days before the event, officials for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have fired Kentaro Kobayashi, the creative director for the Opening Ceremony.
According to Motoko Rich of the New York Times, Kobayashi was let go after organizers became aware of a past comedy skit in which he made light of the Holocaust. Tokyo Olympics CEO Toshiro Muto added that plans for the Opening Ceremony are now being reviewed.
According to Blake Montgomery of the Daily Beast, Kobayashi seemed to refer to the Holocaust as a “let’s massacre Jewish people game” during a performance in the 1990s.
This is merely the latest development in an ongoing saga surrounding the Opening Ceremony.
Hiroshi Sasaki resigned as the creative director for the ceremony in March after making a derogatory comment about Japanese entertainer Naomi Watanabe. Earlier this week, Keigo Oyamada stepped down as the showcase’s composer in connection to past comments he made about bullying former classmates.
The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to begin Friday at 6:55 a.m. ET, which doesn’t leave Olympic officials with much time in the event plans need to be altered.
The Tokyo Olympics have already been delayed by a full year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they’re happening amid a pandemic-related state of emergency in Japan. No matter how unlikely the outcome would be, Muto acknowledged the possibility of canceling the Games altogether if the number of COVID-19 cases continued to spike.