Olympics opening ceremony director sacked for Holocaust joke

The show director of the Olympics opening ceremony has been dismissed, one day before the event is due to be held, the BBC reports.

Footage of Kentaro Kobayashi from the 1990s recently emerged in which he seems to be making jokes about the Holocaust.

Japan’s Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto said the video ridiculed “painful facts of history.”

Former comedian Kobayashi has been strongly criticized for a sketch he performed 23 years ago, in which he and another comedian pretend to be a children’s entertainers. Mr Kobayashi then turns to his colleague, referring to some paper dolls, saying they are “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust’”, according to news agency AFP.

Mr Kobayashi also issued a statement responding to his dismissal.

“Entertainment should not make people feel uncomfortable. I understand that my stupid choice of words at that time was wrong, and I regret it,” it said.

The dismissal is the latest in a string of scandals to hit the Games.

It comes days after a composer quit the team creating the ceremony after it emerged he had bullied classmates with disabilities at school.

In March, creative chief Hiroshi Sasaki quit after suggesting that plus-size comedian Naomi Watanabe could appear as an “Olympig”. He later apologised.

And in February, Yoshiro Mori was forced to step down as the head of the organising committee after he made remarks about women that were criticised as “inappropriate”.

Mr Mori was quoted as saying women talked too much and that meetings with many female board directors would “take a lot of time”

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