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The Office Called Out for Problematic Portrayal of Asian Women by Guest Star Kat Ahn



Season 3 episode from 2006 of 'The Office', "A Benihana Christmas,"
It features a scene with two Asian American waitresses from the titular restaurant accompanying Michael (Steve Carell) and Andy (Ed Helms) back to Dunder Mifflin for a holiday party. In addition to referring to Benihana as "Asian Hooters," Michael also marks one of the waitresses' arms with a Sharpie so that he'll be able to tell them apart.

Kat Ahn, who guest-starred as one of the two Asian American waitresses, opened up about the situation nearly 15 years later, detailing how her excitement to appear on the series quickly crumbled once she realized how her character was "just there to be the joke. You're told to shut up and be grateful. Actors have no power until they become a star,"

The episode has also affected her personal life, as she also explained how the Office joke would continue to come up for years to come.

In January, she detailed how the "problematic" way the series depicted Asian women.
"The storyline with myself and the other Asian American actress is that we were the 'uglier' version of the actresses at the Benihana... Also that all Asian people look alike; we're one big monolith; and we're just one big, walking stereotype without any personality or individuality, which is problematic."

source
Tags: asian celebrities, race / racism, the office (nbc)
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