A pair of Telemundo hosts on the morning show Un Nuevo Dia have been suspended by the network after making racist gestures following South Korea’s 2-0 win over Germany that helped Mexico advance to the Round of 16 in the World Cup on Wednesday.
James Tahhan, better known as “Chef James,” and Janice Bencosme made racist and inappropriate “slant-eyed” gestures while laughing during the live Telemundo morning show. The rest of the panel, who were all sporting Mexico team gear, were laughing.
“We are extremely disappointed with our morning show contributors James Tahhan’s and Janice Bencosme’s gestures referring to the South Korean national soccer team,” Telemundo said in a statement. “Our company takes this type of inappropriate behavior very seriously as it is contrary to our values and standards.
“As a result, both James Tahhan and Janice Bencosme have been placed on an indefinite suspension.”
Both Tahhan and Bencosme have since issued apologies on Twitter.
“During the celebration for the classification of Mexico, I made a mistake and made an inappropriate and insensitive gesture towards the Asian community,” Tahhan said. “It was a lack of sensitivity on my part. I admit that I did something wrong and wanted to apologize to anyone who was offended by it. The World Cup is a great opportunity to bring together friends, strangers, families and entire countries, and not to divide our communities.”
“I want to apologize to the public for my behavior yesterday after the game between Mexico and South Korea,” Bencosme said. “My gesture, besides being inappropriate, was offensive to the Asian community. I was wrong and I want to offer my sincere apologies.”
Mexico will take on Brazil in the Round of 16 on Monday.
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