Aboriginal groups yesterday criticized CtiTV (中天電視) over what they said were discriminatory remarks made about Aborigines by a guest on one of the station’s popular entertainment shows, urging the cable network to apologize.
A popular entertainment show aired by CtiTV, University (大學生了沒), triggered controversy when one of the guests in an episode aired earlier this week told a “joke” that involves discriminatory remarks about Taiwanese Aborigines.
The guest said in the joke that women in Aboriginal villages in the mountains have nothing to do when their husbands go out hunting, so they have affairs.
After the remarks drew criticism from the public, CtiTV released a statement on its Web site on Thursday, saying it did not mean to offend any particular ethnic group and urged critics to remain “rational.”
“No name of any particular Aboriginal village or particular mountain was mentioned in the joke, hence, it is not discriminatory toward any particular group of people,” the TV station said in the statement.
It added that the guest who told the joke — not the station — should be held accountable.
However, CtiTV’s response led to more criticism.
“If someone told a joke about generals’ wives having affairs in military dependents’ quarters when their husbands are out fighting battles, would anyone think that was acceptable?” Taiwan Indigenous Peoples’ Policies Association chairman Oto Micyang asked at a press conference yesterday.
“The joke is quite an old one, but that is not the point. The point is, why would you make such a joke about a particular ethnic group?” he said.
If the TV station considered the joke to be problematic, but broadcast it anyway, it also had to take responsibility, he said.
“The producer could have asked the guest not to tell the joke in advance. The host of the show, Momoko Tao (陶晶瑩) — who is a very experienced TV host — should have known to correct the guest and that part could have been be edited out before airing,” Oto said. “The National Communications Commission should do something about this.”
Kaikai Miyagan, an Amis Aborigine who is a member of a TV production team, echoed Oto’s remarks.
“I am a member of a production team, so I know that before a show is aired, every detail is discussed and rehearsed, so the producer and the host must have known what the guest was going to say,” she said. “In the event that something happens that shouldn’t during the recording of the show, it can always be re--recorded, or the offending part can be simply edited out.”
“There are several layers of filtering before a show can be aired, I’m surprised that CtiTV apparently thinks it’s okay to make such a discriminatory remark on TV,” Kaikai said. “It’s not just a show, not just the few minutes when it was aired — the joke can be retold, the show can be shared over the Internet, and it’s going to create a negative image in the minds of its viewers, who are mostly young people.”