Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Dismissed Over Past Holocaust Jokes

Tokyo, Japan - January, 2020: A picture of the fireworks commemorating the opening of the Olympic Rings in the Tokyo Bay, featuring the Rainbow Bridge, at night.

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Kentaro Kobayashi, creative director of the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, has been dismissed from his role less than 24 hours before the ceremony is set to officially kick off the Summer Games.

This dismissal comes after it was revealed that Kobayashi previously made jokes about the Holocaust during his time as a comedian in 1998.

The decision was announced by Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto at a press conference.

“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” Hashimoto said. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”

“We are going to have the opening ceremony tomorrow, and yes, I am sure there are a lot of people who are not feeling easy about the opening of the Games. But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation.”

The news comes shortly after the news that composer Keigo Oyamada was dismissed after confessing to bullying and abusing disabled classmates in the past.

The Olympics officially kick off on Friday, July 23, and will run through Sunday, August 8. The Opening Ceremony will air live on NBC beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET on Friday morning.

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