MANAA Blasts Rob Schneider For Offensive Racial Caricature in Chuck & Larry Movie

MANAA, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (www.manaa.org), the only organization solely dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive coverage and depictions of Asian Americans, on July 25 issued a press release taking offense by Rob Schneider’s “yellow face” portrayal of a Japanese man in the current #1 movie in the country, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James.

In a scene where the main characters journey to Canada to get married, Schneider plays a minister who makes their union official, donning prosthetic make up (slanted eyes, bigger nose, darker skin color, etc.) to play a stereotypical Japanese nerd with thick eye-glasses and a bowl-style hair cut who speaks in broken English with missing “r”s.

Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, “I felt victimized by the stereotype shtick of … Schneider.”  And Emmy-nominated actor Masi Oka (“Heroes”) told USA Today he was also offended by the yellow-face portrayal.  Says MANAA Founding President Guy Aoki, “In August of 2006, shortly after Mel Gibson’s tirade against Jews, Schneider, pointing out he was half Jewish, took out a full page ad in Daily Variety promising to never work with the writer/director/actor.  We wish Rob had the same pride about being part-Asian.  Somehow, we don’t think he’d make the same assertion against someone who spouted anti-Asian hatred because the actor has himself done quite a good job of putting down people of Asian descent.  As Richard Roeper of ‘Ebert and Roeper’ recently said in his review of Chuck and Larry, ‘Rob Schneider’s Filipino background [he’s a quarter] hardly excuses his portrayal of an Asian minister in perhaps the most egregious stereotype of its kind since Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’”

Rob Schneider also repeatedly perpetuated the tired stereotype that Asian men have small penises in a 2005 movie he co-wrote, Deuce Bigalo:  European Gigolo” (e.g. an Asian male prostitute says in broken English, “I no more man-whore!  Too much danger!  I take my three inches elsewhere!”).

Besides an Asian American fireman who gets no lines, the only other Asian faces we see in Chuck and Larry are five Asian women who come out of a van wearing Hooters-like clothes to “pleasure” Chuck (Sandler) and who’re later seen “having fun” with each other while waiting for Chuck to come back to bed.  “Therefore,” Aoki points out, “the impression people get from watching this film is that Asian men are disgusting-looking geeks and that Asian women are sluts.”

“Sandler showed his movie to GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and edited out scenes they deemed offensive because he didn’t want to make a movie that would offend the gay community.  He should’ve shown it to MANAA; we would’ve had quite a few things to say to him (MANAA has consulted with studios about their films, including Rising Sun and Pearl Harbor).”  MANAA is reachable at manaaletters@hotmail.com, (213) 486-4433, and P.O. Box 11105/Burbank, CA  91510.

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4 thoughts on “MANAA Blasts Rob Schneider For Offensive Racial Caricature in Chuck & Larry Movie

  1. Also the whole thing had tons of stereotypes of the average American white male (gay and straight) and nobody seems to be decying that because they are too busy laughing at themselves.

    If you can’t laugh at yourself, then something’s wrong! We could all use a BIG mirror in this society at everything and maybe if we learned to laugh at it we could actually take steps to getting rid of it. IMHO

  2. I saw this on TV recently (my TiVo had recorded it as a suggestion) and I thought it was supposed to be a send-up or satire on that sort of racist/homophobic thinking – therefore I did not take it literally or feel they were trying to insult.

    IMHO the whole film was trying to be about confronting homophobia and stereotypes by showing them. Once the person laughs the point is to learn ‘wait why did I laugh at that?,’ ‘do I hold some beliefs that need looking into?,’ etc.

    As a former talent agent I have to say that comedians are taught to make fun of EVERYTHING including their own beliefs and background – the idea being that if you shed some humour into it that maybe people will be able to reflect on it and CHANGE their actual beliefs.

    Did they do a poor job? CERTAINLY because if they had done a good job there wouldn’t be all the cries of racism as people would have got the sarcasm. But were they being intentionally racist? – sorry but I’d argue quite the opposite.

    If I was to take all the comedy shows seriously – making fun of my Filipino/asian heritage, making fun of my ‘newer’ religion, making fun of having a non-American husband and a gay brother-in-law, making fun of my conservative economic beliefs, and a bunch of other things I hold dear – I probably would have off’ed myself a long time ago!!!

    It’s COMEDY (poorly written and executed) but comedy nonetheless and therefore should NOT be taken seriously AT ALL.

  3. Agree with all your points. The incredibly disappointing aspect is that these movie producers and directors think that they need such racism in the movie in order to get laughs.

  4. Considering I was thinking of seeing the movie Chuck and Larry, after reading about the comments and racial slurs about Asians, I think not. What I find sad is that Rob Schneider, who has some Asian heritage in him, makes fun of that heritage. I am sure his grandmother would not be pleased. Also I am surprised Kevin James would stand for the slanderous scenes too, since his wife is half Asian herself. Shame on these two actors.

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