Calling food from other cultures “horrible”? Not cool.
What started as a viral rant on TikTok has now grown to a full-blown movement – thousands of incensed Internet people are now pushing for television host James Corden to cancel a culturally insensitive segment on his Late Late Show where he called various Asian foods “disgusting” and “horrible.”
Called “Spill Your Guts,” the segment gives celebrity guests the choice of answering a tough question or consuming a food item from a usually unsavory spread. The episode in question aired back in September 2016, where Corden invited fellow late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and presented him with an assortment of Asian foods, including the Philippines’ balut, chicken feet, pig blood curd, and century eggs, a delicacy in China which the segment referred to as “a thousand-year-old egg.”
“Wow, they all look so terrible,” said the previous Academy Awards hosts, prompting Corden to respond with a repulsed look: “It’s really disgusting. It’s horrific.”
In response, Asian-American activist Kim Saira, who is of Filipino and Chinese descent, took to TikTok to air her grievance over the segment’s “racist” and “disrespectful” reaction to Asian food.
“This is actual Asian food and you’re going on live TV telling people how gross it is,” Saira wrote in her post’s caption. “That’s cringe.”
After garnering more than 2.5 million views on her TikTok video, Saira then started a petition on change.org calling on Corden to remove the segment from his late-night talk show if it isn’t able to present food in a non-degrading manner. She also called on the host to issue an apology for the “perpetual harm [the] segment causes to Asian American communities.”
Lastly, Saira urged the show to donate funds to local Asian American organizations that are working to help Asian-owned restaurants and small businesses.”
“In the wake of the constant Asian hate crimes that have continuously been occurring, not only is this segment incredibly culturally offensive and insensitive, but it also encourages anti-Asian racism,” Saira’s petition reads. “So many Asian Americans are consistently bullied and mocked for their native foods, and this segment amplifies and encourages it.”
As of writing, the petition is only a little over a hundred signatures short of its goal of 35,000.
Speaking to Today, Saira said her impression of Corden shifted after viewing the almost 5-year-old clip of the “Spill Your Guts” segment, sharing that balut is one of the foods she’s grown fond of due to her family.
“Balut is very specific to Filipino culture,” Saira said. “It’s a food that I’ve been eating whenever I go to the Philippines with my grandma and my cousins, so it’s a very sentimental food to me, and I noticed that he was presenting it to a guest and calling it gross.”
In a follow-up TikTok video, Saira clarified that she didn’t want to “cancel” Corden, but merely wants to exact accountability from the highly influential host.
““He has experience speaking up for oppressed communities… I believe he is capable of owning up, learning, & changing the segment… Accountability culture > cancel culture,” Saira said in the video, citing Corden’s past use of his platform to denounce fat-shamers.