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Group calls on executives to erase racial jokes, stereotypes

MANAA, the Media Action Network for Asian American, fired off a letter to Fox on Thursday demanding network executives re-shoot “racist” scenes from Seth MacFarlane’s upcoming sitcomDads.”

The group was referring to the pilot episode of “Dads,” which screened at Fox’s Television Critics Association panel earlier this month and featured one character (Martin Mull) calling Asians “Orientals” before telling his son he didn’t trust the Chinese, that “there’s a reason Shanghai’s a verb.”

“Our community can’t continue to be the target of racially insensitive jokes,” MANAA wrote in the letter. “Considering the consistent feedback from our community and television critics in general–and the creators saying they hadn’t properly defined their characters nor gotten used to their actors when they shot that first episode–this sounds like a no-brainer.”

Fox chairman Kevin Reilly acknowledged during his exec session the derogatory nature of the “Dads” pilot, and how the show will need retooling and recalibrating in order to find an appropriate comedic balance.

But exec producers Mike Scully and Wellesley Wild were on the defensive when it came to questions about the racist and sexist jokes used in the show.

“We don’t want this to be the racial, insult comedy show,” Scully remarked. “It’s a show about fathers and sons.”

“This is an opportunity for characters to have that discussion in the way most people can’t,” star Seth Green added.

The Asian org singled out exec producer Alec Sulkin in the letter, mentioning a 2011 tweet that followed the Tsunami in Japan when thousands of people were killed.

“If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, google ‘Pearl Harbor death toll’,” he tweeted.

The org responded: “Given the level of hostility we felt in the “Dads” pilot, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Sulkin’s involved.”

“Dads,” starring Seth Green and Giovani Ribisi, debuts this fall on Fox.

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