"We are extremely disappointed with our morning show contributors James Tahhan’s and Janice Bencosme"
Two Telemundo hosts have been suspended for making racist eye gestures whilst celebrating South Korea’s win against Germany that allowed Mexico to advance.
As reported by the BBC, two hosts from US language network Telemundo have been suspended for making racist gestures in celebration of Germany’s defeat against South Korea.
The result secured Mexico a place in the knockout stages, which otherwise would have gone to Germany. Consequently, Mexican fans were praising South Korea for knocking out the former world champions. Some fans in Mexico were even seen partying outside the South Korean embassy.
Whilst celebrating, ‘Chef James’ Tahhan and Janice Bencosme were seen making slant-eye gestures as well as dancing and laughing on set.
Tahhan and Benscome have been placed on “an indefinite suspension” by the network. In a statement, Telemundo said the hosts’ behaviour was “contrary to our values and standards.”
“We are extremely disappointed with our morning show contributors James Tahhan’s and Janice Bencosme’s gestures referring to the South Korean national soccer team,” the statement read. “Our company takes this type of inappropriate behavior very seriously as it is contrary to our values and standards.
Tahan apologised on Twitter, admitting he “made an inappropriate and insensitive gesture towards the Asian community”, adding he “wanted to apologise to anyone who was offended by it”.
@Telemundo, don’t let your host make racist gestures on the air. 😐 Thanks!@UnNuevoDia#MundialTelemundo pic.twitter.com/01lCzOULvP
— Jimmy Sanchez (@JimmyJam99) June 27, 2018
Korean fans soon responded by using the hashtag #racialdiscrimination to express their frustration, whilst some Mexican fans uploaded images of themselves pulling the same gesture.
One user wrote, “They say they love us and that we are their brothers then what’s this… I heard they know that this is a racist gesture…”.
Another added that South Koreans “don’t need brothers who are racists”.
Some defended the Mexicans, saying the intent was not offensive. “They did it because they didn’t know it was being racist. You can smile and tell them the meaning. You don’t need to be angry at things if they are done without bad intention,” one person wrote (in Korean).
Nonetheless, some demanded an apology from the Mexicans.
“Mexican Companion, please, if you are going to show gratitude to the Korean team, do it with respect, do not upload photos doing this, as it is considered racist,” one Twitter user wrote. “An apology for this behavior, not all Mexicans are like that.”
In related news, retired Argentine forward Diego Maradona recently denied making a racist gesture towards South Korean fans at a World Cup game.
Last year Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona was given a five-match suspension for making a similar racist Asian gesture.
Mexican Companion, please, if you are going to show gratitude to the Korean team, do it with respect, do not upload photos doing this, as it is considered racist.
An apology for this behavior, not all Mexicans are like that.#GraciasCorea #respeto #felicidades #corea pic.twitter.com/kJehz1a92R
— Milo (@Marshal014) June 28, 2018
형제니 사랑한다니 뭐니 하면서 이건 대체 뭘까요..인종차별 행위인거 알고 이런다고 하던데.. pic.twitter.com/K7cCfBrrJw
— 김유라🔸ユラ(yura Kim) (@GoddessMechanic) June 27, 2018
Dear @Telemundo @TelemundoSports & @TLMDPR , whoever this guy is on the left needs to get fired ASAP for being a racist on air. If someone were to say or make racist gestures about Latinx folks we’d ALL be up in arms & this is no different #SayNoToRacism #TelemundoMundial pic.twitter.com/SvzSednPAd
— Miguel Hernandez (@Techivist) June 27, 2018