Former late night talk show host Jay Leno apologized for making anti-Asian jokes throughout his lengthy career in comedy.
Variety reported  that Leno, 70, issued this apology while taking part in a Zoom call with Guy Aoki, the leader of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans. MANAA said it’s been complaining for almost 15 years about Leno’s comments.
“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” Leno said. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.”
“At the time, there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don’t worry about it,” he added. “Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either ‘We need to deal with this’ or ‘Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.’ Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong.”
Here’s more detail about his apology:
“I am issuing this apology,” he added. “I do not consider this particular case to be another example of cancel culture but a legitimate wrong that was done on my part. MANAA has been very gracious in accepting my apology. I hope that the Asian American community will be able to accept it as well, and I hope I can live up to their expectations in the future.”
This comes at a time when it is being claimed that hate crimes against Asians is on the rise.
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Leno’s Jokes About Asians
Most of the jokes that Leno made about Asians were reportedly about them eating dog meat.
In 2002, Leno was documented as having made jokes about Chinese people and Koreans eating dogs and the comments continued over the years.
Just last year, he made a joke about Koreans eating dog meat on the set of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” offending many people who were there at the time.
Some people wonder why it’s taken Leno such a long time to apologize:
It’s notable that for 2 decades Jay Leno knew he was wrong but he kept doing it. And it took mass shootings for him to apologize
— Archie (@ToFollowOrNot2) March 24, 2021 
Some have blamed this on the rhetoric from former President Donald Trump, who has simply been open about the fact that COVID-19 originated in China.
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Cancel Culture Is Worse Than Ever
It’s clear that Leno is terrified of cancel culture right now just as much as anyone. He fears that his past jokes about Asians could destroy his future career prospects.
Some people don’t believe Leno should have apologized.
Here’s just one example that cites comedian George Carlin:
Jay Leno should not have apologized. pic.twitter.com/19oI9Wc8X3 
— Samuel Culper 722, also on GAB @politiwars (@politiwars) March 25, 2021 
These fears are not unfounded. We’ve seen the slightest of infractions lead to cancellation, regardless of how long ago it happened.
Unfortunately for Leno, apologies rarely do anything to save someone from the cancel culture mob.