[Videolib] NAATA's response

Sarah Andrews (sarah-andrews@uiowa.edu)
Wed, 02 Jul 2003 12:53:05 -0500

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Excuse me if this was already posted, but Naata's website has their letter
to Fox posted at
http://www.naatanet.org/forumarchive/index.html
Here is the text:

The Terrible Return of Charlie Chan
In response to protests and criticism from NAATA and other groups, Fox
Movie Channel has discontinued its broadcasts of one of the most offensive
Asian caricatures of America's cinematic past.
If you get digital cable or DirecTV, you may have already run across "The
Charlie Chan Mystery Tour" featured on the Fox Movie Channel. The films
were scheduled to air on Monday nights in June, July and August. However,
due to protests and negative public response, Fox Movie Channel has
cancelled further broadcasts of the Charlie Chan mystery films.
Twenty years ago, NAATA joined with many other groups to protest the making
of "Charlie Chan and the Dragon Queen" which featured Peter Ustinov in
yellowface as Chan. Now, with Chan back in reruns, NAATA took up the
campaign to urge Fox to stop airing hackneyed racist stereotypes. Here's
the open letter we sent to Fox Movie Channel:
June 12, 2003
Mark Devitre
Senior Vice President and General Manager
The Fox Movie Channel, Inc.
10000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Dear Mr.Devitre:
Last month, millions of Americans from many different ethnic backgrounds
celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. There were essay
contests, community arts fairs, and classroom activities. NAATA, a national
non-profit organization, did its part by presenting over ten hours of
television programming about Asian Americans on public television stations
across the country.
As Americans turn on their televisions in June, July and August on the Fox
Movie Channel, they will be greeted not by humanistic, historically
accurate, and empowering images but by a hoary stereotype that has dogged
Asian Americans for decades: Charlie Chan. Even as a child growing up in
the 1950s in Los Angeles, where television stations seem to run the Charlie
Chan films endlessly, I could see that Charlie Chan's shuffling,
subservient manner and exaggerated accent and fortune-cookie chatter did
not resemble my parents, friends or any Chinese person I knew.
By now, you have probably received several protest letters. In fact, a
NAATA staff member wrote to the Fox Movie Channel via your website. The
response he received was that the Monday night series was programmed "in
response to popular demand." If you follow this logic, you would end up
broadcasting the "Amos and Andy Show," which was a top rated show in its
day and probably still has legions of fans as does Charlie Chan. However,
it is highly unlikely that Fox would televise Amos and Andy because you
know that African Americans, along with many other groups, would mount a
vigorous protest. Just because something is popular doesn't make it right.
Asian Americans feel that Charlie Chan is a demeaning portrayal that is
culturally inaccurate and "entertaining" at our expense. Add to it the
insult of "yellowface" and the ridiculous and hideous portrayal of African
Americans via Mantan Moreland and you have a plethora of reasons to cancel
"Charlie Chan's Mystery Tour."
Charlie Chan should have retired long ago to the Home for Socially
Inappropriate Characters (SIC) where he would commiserate with Tonto,
Butterfly McQueen, Stepin Fetchit, the Cisco Kid, and countless others.
America is at a different place socially and politically than the 1930s. By
running the Chan movies, the Fox Movie Channel reviving hurtful stereotypes
instead of helping our society move towards harmony.
Upon behalf of NAATA's board and staff, I urge you to cancel Charlie Chan's
Mystery Tour. I look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Eddie Wong
Executive Director
cc: Misty Wilson, Senior Vice President of Diversity
Now, thanks to public protest, Fox Movie Channel has subsequently decided
to cancel the "Charlie Chan Mystery Tour" -- no more Chan movies in July
and August.

--------
Sarah Andrews
University of Iowa Libraries

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Excuse me if this was already posted, but Naata's website has their letter to Fox posted at
http://www.naatanet.org/forumarchive/index.html
Here is the text:

The Terrible Return of Charlie Chan
In response to protests and criticism from NAATA and other groups, Fox Movie Channel has discontinued its broadcasts of one of the most offensive Asian caricatures of America's cinematic past.
If you get digital cable or DirecTV, you may have already run across "The Charlie Chan Mystery Tour" featured on the Fox Movie Channel. The films were scheduled to air on Monday nights in June, July and August. However, due to protests and negative public response, Fox Movie Channel has cancelled further broadcasts of the Charlie Chan mystery films.
Twenty years ago, NAATA joined with many other groups to protest the making of "Charlie Chan and the Dragon Queen" which featured Peter Ustinov in yellowface as Chan. Now, with Chan back in reruns, NAATA took up the campaign to urge Fox to stop airing hackneyed racist stereotypes. Here's the open letter we sent to Fox Movie Channel:
June 12, 2003
Mark Devitre
Senior Vice President and General Manager
The Fox Movie Channel, Inc.
10000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Dear Mr.Devitre:
Last month, millions of Americans from many different ethnic backgrounds celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. There were essay contests, community arts fairs, and classroom activities. NAATA, a national non-profit organization, did its part by presenting over ten hours of television programming about Asian Americans on public television stations across the country.
As Americans turn on their televisions in June, July and August on the Fox Movie Channel, they will be greeted not by humanistic, historically accurate, and empowering images but by a hoary stereotype that has dogged Asian Americans for decades: Charlie Chan. Even as a child growing up in the 1950s in Los Angeles, where television stations seem to run the Charlie Chan films endlessly, I could see that Charlie Chan=92s shuffling, subservient manner and exaggerated accent and fortune-cookie chatter did not resemble my parents, friends or any Chinese person I knew.
By now, you have probably received several protest letters. In fact, a NAATA staff member wrote to the Fox Movie Channel via your website. The response he received was that the Monday night series was programmed "in response to popular demand." If you follow this logic, you would end up broadcasting the "Amos and Andy Show," which was a top rated show in its day and probably still has legions of fans as does Charlie Chan. However, it is highly unlikely that Fox would televise Amos and Andy because you know that African Americans, along with many other groups, would mount a vigorous protest. Just because something is popular doesn't make it right. Asian Americans feel that Charlie Chan is a demeaning portrayal that is culturally inaccurate and "entertaining" at our expense. Add to it the insult of "yellowface" and the ridiculous and hideous portrayal of African Americans via Mantan Moreland and you have a plethora of reasons to cancel "Charlie Chan's Mystery Tour."
Charlie Chan should have retired long ago to the Home for Socially Inappropriate Characters (SIC) where he would commiserate with Tonto, Butterfly McQueen, Stepin Fetchit, the Cisco Kid, and countless others. America is at a different place socially and politically than the 1930s. By running the Chan movies, the Fox Movie Channel reviving hurtful stereotypes instead of helping our society move towards harmony.
Upon behalf of NAATA's board and staff, I urge you to cancel Charlie Chan's Mystery Tour. I look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Eddie Wong
Executive Director
cc: Misty Wilson, Senior Vice President of Diversity
Now, thanks to public protest, Fox Movie Channel has subsequently decided to cancel the "Charlie Chan Mystery Tour" -- no more Chan movies in July and August.

--------
Sarah Andrews
University of Iowa Libraries

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