Edinburgh Fringe hit Yellow Face uproar as the British-Asian industry group slammed “racist” play
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was today urged to introduce new guidelines for future shows after Asian viewers claimed they were subjected to “publicly licensed racism” during a show.
British East and Southeast Asians Working in the Theater and Film Industry (BEATS) complained about a play in which an award-winning male actor portrayed a geisha, a traditional Japanese hostess.
At the tea ceremony, Marios Ioannou, a Cypriot artist with white complexion, looks on as he “takes the audience on a journey of modern day abuse, child labour, human trafficking, torture and slavery”. according to the official Fringe website.
BEATS says the performance involved an “extremely triggering and traumatic” use of “shamelessly yellow face” in the wake of historical abuses.
Although the campaign group conceded that “no one wants rules” at the legendary comedy festival, they urged organizers to create “policies” that will prevent future instances of “publicly licensed racism on stage”.
The show’s producer has since hit back at the racism allegations Mr Ioannou also denied the claims.
The tea ceremony sees Marios Ioannou (pictured), a Cypriot performer who wears white complexion, as he “takes the audience on a journey of modern day abuse, child labour, human trafficking, torture and slavery”. according to the official Fringe website
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was today urged to introduce new guidelines for future shows after Asian viewers claimed they were subjected to “publicly licensed racism” during a show
In the controversial play, the traditional geisha openly questions her role as an entertainer while exploring themes of abuse, child labor, human trafficking and slavery.
BEATS’ statement added: “We don’t want to see a sanitized and conservative fringe. The problem, however, is that we’re getting a clean and conservative edge with outdated racist performance tropes.
SRSLY_yours, the producer group behind the show, said it was in touch with two Japanese contributors who “didn’t think it was inappropriate”.
They said in a statement: “We are delighted that the tea ceremony is stimulating discussions on long-standing issues such as prejudice and racism.
“His themes are challenging for our audiences, but we reject any suggestion of yellowing or whitewashing – both of which are anathema to the show’s message.
“It’s a very big discussion about cultural appropriation in art and we’re excited to open a dialogue.
“But I was surprised it wasn’t talked about when we were there, only after we left, which isn’t very nice.
“There will be another tea ceremony performance in London so it would be good to clear things up beforehand. We weren’t racist so it was a very unnecessary comment.
It comes just weeks after the Fringe was hit with allegations of quit culture after a comedian who allegedly exposed himself on stage saw his next set pulled at 11th hour.
Jerry Sadowitz, who also performs magic as part of his routine, claimed his show had “been cheapened and simplified as unsafe, homophobic, misogynist and racist”, leading to it being canceled at The Pleasance at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Jerry Sadowitz (pictured) second night at The Pleasance at the Edinburgh International Conference Center was shelved after the venue said its material was not “aligned”. [their] Values’
Mr. Sadowitz released a statement on Twitter in response to the cancellation of his second show
The Pleasance (pictured) has so far declined to confirm which part of the storyline was considered offensive, but said in a statement that “opinions like Sadowitz’s are unacceptable”.
The 60-year-old’s second night was cut short after the venue said his material was not “aligned”. [their] Values.’
Taking to Twitter, Mr. Sadowitz defended his show by saying, “It is what it is for those who enjoy it,” that it was not his intention to offend anyone, and suggested those who were dissatisfied with the show’s content are offended at “sticking with Carry On movies”. ‘.
The Pleasance has so far declined to confirm which part of the act was considered offensive, but said in a statement that “opinions like Sadowitz’s are unacceptable”.
“Opinions of the kind displayed by Sadowitz on stage are unacceptable and The Pleasance are unwilling to be associated with such material,” the statement said.
Announcing the show’s cancellation, The Pleasance director Anthony Alderson added: “The Pleasance is a venue that champions free speech and we do not censor comedians’ material.
“While we recognize that Jerry Sadowitz was often controversial, the material presented at his first show is unacceptable and does not reflect our values.
“This type of material has no place at the festival and The Pleasance will not be presenting its second and final show.”
Dark comedy group K*** and the Gang sold out their four-week run of ‘Shannon Matthews: The Musical’ (pictured: a poster for the show) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month
The performance is based on the true story of the fake kidnapping of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, who went missing in 2008 a mile from her home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
A comedy musical also sparked outrage this year after it joked about the disappearance of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews.
Dark comedy group K*** and the Gang sold out their entire four-week run of Shannon Matthews: The Musical, which critics called “cruel and disgusting.”
Nine-year-old Shannon was the victim of a fake kidnapping in 2008 by “Britain’s worst mother”, Karen Matthews, who drugged, tied up and hid her own daughter as she planned to pocket a £50,000 bounty.
Among the most outspoken critics were Dewsbury Tory MP Mark Eastwood, who helped find the missing Shannon in 2008, and local Labor councilor Mussarat Pervaiz, who called the show’s trivialization “disgusting”.
Dewsbury West Councilor Ammar Anwar said the musical was “out of order” and “should never have been allowed in”.