‘How I Met Your Mother’ Creators Apologize for Racism in Recent Episode

How I met Your Mother Racism

Showrunners took to Twitter to respond to the backlash

The pain of Marshall and Barney’s ongoing slap bet in “How I Met Your Mother” is nothing compared to the fury of angry Twitter users, the creators have learned.

Monday’s episode put the show under fire when Jason Segel’s character continued the slap bet with Neil Patrick Harris’, threatening the “slap of a million exploding suns” that he learned from three masters. The cast’s Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor served as said masters, dressed to make them look as though they were Asian.

Viewers immediately flocked to Twitter to voice their aversion to the use of “yellowface,” and even created the hashtag “#HowIMetYourRacism.” Co-creator Carter Bays responded Wednesday, apologizing for himself and fellow showrunner Craig Thomas.

He continued to say that they try to make a show that’s “universal,” but fell short this week. Thomas also chimed in on Twitter to agree.

“How I Met Your Mother” is in its final season, and the finale will air in March.

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  1. Adrien says:

    It’s silly ! Don’t need to apologize guys, if you were making an episode on France with the guy who plays accordeon and the one with his baguette below the Eiffel Tour, I’d be the first one to laugh (I’m French), because I’d know that would be a joke and a voluntary cliché.

    And Kids, that’s how people lost their humour.

  2. kidsonpics says:

    and twitter;)

  3. justyna says:

    what about Belushi’s Samurai Hotel in SNL ? was it racist too? people should get a life outside facebook!

  4. Marc Flores says:

    Just saw the episode, clever and well done, decent punchline and payoff in the end…not racist at all. I’m offended by the easily offended. sheesh!

  5. Tacitus Talks says:

    I suppose you have NEVER DONE BUSINESS IN China, Japan, or Korea. You have NO IDEA. They don’t get mad, they get even.

  6. big daddy D says:

    @Tacitus Talks..evening the score..is that like going to Pacific Mall in Markham and trying to buy something when you don’t speak the language? Ftr..Pacific Mall is a HUGE Asian centred shopping mall north of Toronto.

  7. Taylor Scott says:

    The point is that the depiction of Asians in Hollywood is nearly 100% caricature with few meaningful roles. Most Asian-Americans that want to act have to move to Asia to get non stereotypical roles… the images are dominated by Long Duk Dong, Mickey Rooney in Philadelphia Story, or “Leslie Chow” in the Hangover. Asians are typically a joke or a caricature in American media. If there were more balance, people wouldn’t complain so much.

  8. Alana says:

    I don’t watch the show, but every video that I’ve watched of the episode the actors where ONLY dressed in “traditional” (or traditional as it has beed presented to Westerners) wardrobe. Not one actor had on makeup to appear to have a yellow or “Asian complexion” (for whatever that may be). As with all humans, we come in a myriad of complexions (see: colors). Neither did any of them have their eyes taped to portray the slanted eyes stereotype. By throwing out the word racism when it is not called for (and using the term yellowface when it doesn’t apply), you devalue the terms and thus desensitized the populous further to actual cases of such and in turn hurt your cause and true victims. There are no winners in such cases; we all lose! I say this as a black woman by the way. So, you can save your “You don’t know what it’s like!” comments. I just don’t read racism/sexisn/place your “ism” here in every little thing. I have a sense of humor, I’m not defined by my race or sex, and I know who, what, and who’s I am! There are just bigger fights to fight, and I choose them wisely.

    • Jay Mckim says:

      You would never be insulted by Asian depiction bs you are not an asian. How dare you suggests what is asian targeting racism or not when you are not Asian!!!! You have no right to define what is Asian targeting racism or not!!!! How can white male tell Asian what is asian targeting racism or not? If you are wise guy, tell your white media boss to stop fooling around with Asian people and stop playing game and go deal with your own race problem. Stop exploiting Asian culture/people for your entertainment. if you want Asian to be treated human being no different from you, don’t use Asian caricature to suggest that’s Asian thing. That’s the clear stupidity. We are all human being and why not look at us deep inside…. instead dress up like Chinese or make up Yellowface to suggest something for laugh or not at it… The motivation is clearly not to bring us together but further divide American culture base on race….

  9. big daddy D says:

    Blazing Saddles is in my top 10 funny movies of all time. Was there racism towards Madeline Kahn’s german character Lili von Shtupp? People do need to relax. Funny IS funny.

  10. Pat says:

    You don’t think Americans are made fun of in Japan and China comedy shows. People get a life!!!!

  11. joe@blow.com says:

    Americans of all walks of life are too easily offended as a whole. Toughen up, people.

  12. Sharon says:

    There was nothing racist about that episode. They didn’t squint their eyes or use stupid accents. They also didn’t reference bad driving or good at math! Now if you want to comment that there’s no one of color in the whole show….that’s a different story!

  13. John Freimann says:

    I thought that it was called “acting”.

  14. Bill says:

    It wasn’t racist at all.

    I’m Asian and had no problem with it.

    Get a life, people.

  15. Tavia says:

    I’ve had to say this elsewhere but it bears repeating: I find it incredibly disheartening to see so many HIMYM apologists and people who don’t give a damn about black or yellow-face here. It’s a theme I see playing out all too often: our society does a collective shrug and “meh” whenever Asians are stereotyped or otherwise exotified in pop culture. It’s as though we’re a lesser minority whose experiences are can be easily dismissed because our racial history in this country doesn’t illicit the same level of racial guilt that other marginalized groups do. (That in and of itself is highly problematic because hello! Read about the fucking Chinese Exclusion Act and all the scapegoating and economic and social marginalizing that went along with it sometime!) I don’t understand how supposedly liberal-minded folks can feel so comfortable tossing racial sensitivity out the window in the name of “homage” or kung-fu fandom. Have you any idea how many times I’ve had to endure lame ass Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee jokes growing up? Do you really think that if people are offended by RACISM, we should just “fuck off”? How depressing and how demonstrative of the work that still needs to be done re: racial education in 2014.

    • Alana says:

      I don’t watch the show, but every video that I’ve watched of the episode the actors where ONLY dressed in “traditional” (or traditional as it has beed presented to Westerners) wardrobe. Not one actor had on makeup to appear to have a yellow or “Asian complexion” (for whatever that may be). As with all humans, we come in a myriad of complexions (see: colors). Neither did any of them have their eyes taped to portray the slanted eyes stereotype. By throwing out the word racism when it is not called for (and using the term yellowface when it doesn’t apply), you devalue the terms and thus desensitized the populous further to actual cases of such and in turn hurt your cause and true victims. There are no winners in such cases; we all lose! I say this as a black woman by the way. So, you can save your “You don’t know what it’s like!” comments. I just don’t read racism/sexisn/place your “ism” here in every little thing. I have a sense of humor, I’m not defined by my race or sex, and I know who, what, and who’s I am! There are just bigger fights to fight, and I choose them wisely.

  16. bolt5000 says:

    TV producers have been making racist comments or portraying whites in unfavorable ways for decades. Watch any commercial and its typically an intelligent, well-dressed minority (usually black) showing/teaching/instructing/officiating a white person to do something because they are too stupid to figure it out for themselves.

    Want evidence? Check out any of the State Farm commercials during the last few years.

  17. SimFacey says:

    I am really confused…as a minority I am sensitive to racism but I just don’t get what this is about….

  18. American says:

    If one is offended, change the channel, libby.

  19. Bridget says:

    When are Bays and Thomas going to apologize for wasting my time this season? Are you kidding me with this ridiculous story arc? An entire season based on one wedding weekend? HIMYM has become the background noise in my home while I clean, do laundry, etc. It is not worth my time to sit and watch – advertisers, please take note.
    As far as this week’s episode, forget the non-existent “racism” and focus on the show’s setting and explain why the gang is at McClaren’s story-telling when they are supposed to be in Farhampton? This season is awful – not at all funny or remotely entertaining. Shame on you all for ending a fun show in this lackluster disappointing manner of story-telling.

    • AJ says:

      I completely agree with everything you’ve said, Bridget. I didn’t even make it to the final act. I know I should just stop wasting my time, particularly when there is so much good programing out there. However, I’ve passed the point of no return and just need to see it through to the end which is becoming more and more difficult each week. I like your background noise idea though. Perhaps I’ll try that next week or maybe just fly through at double/triple speed on the DVR. And, BTW, I’m Asian and any trace of racism didn’t even enter my mind. Too busy being disappointed with the show I suppose.

  20. David says:

    Good Lord! Why do people bow to a fringe of narcissists who use twitter? Seriously, it is such a small percentage of the public, particularly the viewing public as to make them ( and their overly sensitive views ) insignificant and certainly not representative of normal Americans, few of whom even use twitter.

    To the critics of this episode I say…GET OVER YOURSELVES.

  21. Oh please! I almost can’t wait for this country to collapse, so that people can experience REAL problems and forget about all the artificial ones.

  22. Just watched the episode. Where is the racism?

  23. Comedians do this on stage all the time.

    Drop the double standards.

  24. It seems nothing can be done without offending someone, so just forget about it. If folks are offended too bad, it will help you grow up tough and straight. Remember the old saw, sticks and stones…no one will be hurt except those that won’t get to claim they are a horribly aggreaved victim in all of this.
    What a joke, toughen up wussies or get off the ride, we ain’t slowing down just for you.
    Rich in New Mexico.

  25. Jason says:

    Let me get this straight, white folks can’t play roles or portray themselves in a way that would typically be associated with Asians? Does that mean Asian folks cannot play roles typically associated with white people? Are we at the point where stereotypes rule what is/is not considered humorous?

  26. David S. says:

    We have totally lost the ability to laugh at ourselves. It’s time to move on. At long as we have hypenated-Americans, we’ll never have an inclusive society, and quite possible, no America.

  27. Mollie H. says:

    I recently spoke to an Elderly Asian Man
    and he said they prefer to think of their skin color as GOLDEN.

    In that same spirit
    I prefer to be called a healthy PINK

    and

    Americans of African origin are DARK BROWN
    Mexicans are TAN

    …. just for the sake of accuracy rather than simplistic labels.

  28. chad says:

    If you were offended, then fuck you

  29. Checkmate King Two says:

    It’s bottom-feeder fare anyway.

  30. BR says:

    Am I the only one that was offended by the horrible writing on this Slap episode?! I mean the other slaps were hilarious and this one was just meh

    • sino-american says:

      if you really think that, you deserve to be slapped as hard as possible right in your stupid face. just kidding, i really liked this episode and was reminded of what happened to the leftover slaps. and c’mon, it ends with a boyz ii men appearance, i didn’t know they were still around!…

  31. Steve Cee says:

    Lighten up EVERYBODY. This nation has entirely lost it’s sense of humor. If you want to be offended you will be. Get over it.

  32. bitter49er says:

    The United States of the Offended. God bless us all, every one.

  33. Jim Burke says:

    Oh, there are people who just love making others dance to the tune of their feigned victimhood. The fact is that the martial arts did originate in Asia. Nobody has called the whole genre of “Kung Fu” movies racist. The whole victimhood racial play is getting so old that most regular folks have learned to ignore it, although among the Hollywood crowd it still holds sway. Fools.

  34. Worried says:

    Please tell me that asians aren’t going to join the ranks of the perpetually offended.

    • Clearly you do not now the culture….The depth and scope of racism in America is stunning!!

      • Giovanni Galtiago says:

        “The depth and scope of racism in America is stunning”

        Clearly, you have never lived abroad. I have spent a large % of my life in Asia, North Africa and elsewhere. America has an inclusive society both on a relative and absolute basis. To think otherwise just shows naivete and ignorance.

        GG

      • C. Adkins says:

        people don’t care anymore., They’re sick of it.

      • Jim Burke says:

        The depth and scope of racism may be stunning, but only a fool would think this is an example of that. It’s stupid, feigned, and intended to make people dance. Why? Just because. And, it diminishes claims where actual racism occurs because people have learned to tune it out. All the pretend victimhood hurts people who are actually victimized. Unfortunately, there are fools aplenty to think otherwise.

  35. Dave says:

    My wife is Asian and I found the storyline, makeup, and set design to be very funny, not at all offensive, and a fitting homage to old fashioned asian movies. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and consider it probably the best episode this season. The previous episodes made me feel as though the writers were treading water. At least this episode begins to bring closure on the slaps. I liked it. Those who are complaining are just looking for a reason to be offended. Ignore them.

  36. Seanmom says:

    This is as dumb as the “geisha is racism” kerfuffle. KUNG FU MOVIES are a thing (so are geishas, by the way). They exist. They have characteristics that can be made fun of. This is not RACISM. It is SATIRE. If parody, satire, and ridicule are no longer allowed in our “civilized” society because they might “offend” someone, we’re done.

    This culture is turning into a buch of self-involved, narcissistic babies who scream “bully” whenever anyone dares to disagree with or make fun of them. This isn’t the country the Founders were aiming for.

  37. Butch Clark says:

    I just don’t believe the majority of people are “OFENDED” at all..One of the most over used words in the English language…Oh,and don’t forget RACIST..

  38. DBinVA says:

    I thought she was squinting.

  39. DBinVA says:

    ^^^Win!!!^^^

  40. Robert Mull says:

    When are people going to stop being so thin skinned?????? STUPID all of this PC garbage

  41. Coinoperator says:

    Oh please…. Get over yourselves, people. Quit being sensitive and put your big boy panties on. There was nothing wrong with what they said.

  42. Maloderous Rex says:

    By “Asian” do you mean Pakistani? Israeli? Burmese? Russian?

    It’s the largest continent in the galaxy, surely there’s a better word to get across what you mean.

  43. Jim Peel says:

    People just can’t seem to get enough of what offends them and they immediately start b—-ing and moaning about it to anyone who will listen. Get a life. Get on with that life. Leave the rest of us alone and revel in your misery; but keep it to yourself.

  44. Jade Hanson says:

    wow do we live in a screwed up world when people get their panties in a bunch over something like this…we are so screwed.

  45. Tacitus Talks says:

    Funny, I have lived in China, and ASIA is the definition of Racism. Ask a Chinese national how they feel about Japanese, or Korean, or Americans. Did you know Chinese did not consider Blacks Americans? Try to be a white student attending a Chinese school…. Ask a Japanese national how the feel about Chinese, or Koreans. And give equal time to the Koreans. The whole LOT OF THEM SHOULD STFU.

  46. Joe E in the IE says:

    Now we know what set off the “Oh, bloody puh-LEEEZE!” alarm.

  47. SPPP says:

    They “even created a hashtag!!” Holy geez guys! Someone went to the HUGE trouble of creating a hashtag! Quick! Put that in the story, because that’s high-quality news right there! OMG do you know how hard it is to create a hashtag??? The preparation alone is enough to make people not bother. Boy, this show is TOAST now that someone made a hashtag mocking them! BLAM!
    #toast

  48. K Saks says:

    Seriously???? I’m Asian and I thought it was a little funny. I bet most of the ppl who were offended are not even Asian. Reminds of the whole Speedy Gonzalez outraged. Such is the world we live in today. As a fan, this show stopped being funny about two years ago. They are recycling some old materials to keep this show on life support until March.

  49. julles T says:

    To you perpetually offended idiots: get a frigging life! Whats wrong? Did mommy tell you that no one is allowed to offend her wittle baby? Jeez…toughen up! What a bunch of whining little babies.

  50. mxyxptlk says:

    #Twitter #Sand

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