Amid the wave of escalating violence against Asian Americans, Jay Leno has apologized for his past anti-Asian jokes.
The former late night host expressed his remorse during a Zoom call with Guy Aoki, the leader of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, according to Variety.
“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Leno said. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.”
“At the time,” Leno explained, “there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don’t worry about it. Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either ‘We need to deal with this’ or ‘Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.’ Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong.”
Leno continued: “I am issuing this apology. I do not consider this particular case to be another example of cancel culture but a legitimate wrong that was done on my part. MANAA has been very gracious in accepting my apology. I hope that the Asian American community will be able to accept it as well, and I hope I can live up to their expectations in the future.”
There was no immediate further comment from Leno on his remarks.