LOS ANGELES: Charlotte Hornets star Jeremy Lin has joined the chorus of criticism over Chris Rock’s Oscars ceremony joke involving three Asian children brought onto the stage.
Rock received broadly positive reviews for his performance at Sunday’s annual Hollywood awards extravaganza, which had been overshadowed by a furor about a lack of diversity after non-white actors failed to gain a single nomination.
However Rock has faced sharp criticism over a gag in which three “ballot counters” from accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers — three Asian children — were brought onto the stage at the Dolby Theatre.
The skit, playing to a popular stereotype about Asians being good at math, left NBA star Lin unimpressed.
“Seriously though, when is this going to change?!?” Lin wrote on Twitter. “Tired of it being ‘cool’ and ‘ok’ to bash Asians smh [shaking my head]#Oscars”.
Rock’s gag also left actor Jeffrey Wright cold. “Half-assed Asian joke, #Oscars, and then preach about diversity? #LoseMe,” the actor wrote on Twitter.
In further comments to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, Lin, whose parents are from Taiwan, said he felt duty-bound to speak out.
“I thought it was a chance for me to stand up for Asians,” said Lin.
“I just feel like sometimes the way people perceive Asians or Asian Americans today can be disappointing in the way they view them. Even Asian American masculinity or whatever you want to talk about, just a lot of the ways that Asians are perceived I don’t always agree with.
“In acting, you look at Asian roles, they always seem to be in similar roles. I feel like we are just so much more broad than that … if we can start branching out a little bit or at least showing that we are different than what other people think we are, maybe we can start to break down some of those walls.”