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No Apologies: John Curtas Tweet Irks Japanese-Americans

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The Media Action Network for Asian Americans has a problem with food critic John Curtas, who may someday have a show on the Travel Channel with Al Mancini called All Forked Up and occasionally appears on NBC affiliate KSNV's Wake Up with the Wagners morning TV show.

In particular, the group led by president Guy Aoki, is up in arms about a tweet Curtas sent last August that used the racial slur "Jap" when talking about a YouTube video that features yodeling Japanese singer Takeo Ischi. At the time, Curtas tweeted, "The best Jap-German collaboration since 1941."

The group took umbrage with the racial slur. In a letter to Eater Vegas, the group says, "MANAA believes the responsible thing to do is to no longer give him legitimacy by quoting him and to report on this controversy."


In June, Curtas tweeted about Paula Deen, who was fired from the Food Network and nearly every other outlet associated with her after she cancelled an appearance on the Today Show. She was embroiled in a controversy where a deposition revealed that she admitted that she used the N-word. Curtas tweeted, "She thinks colored people areswell Paula Deen Fired: Food Network Cancels Show After Racism Scandal."

In a blog for Manzanar Committee, which educates and raises public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II, Gann Matsuda called Curtas a hypocrite because of his August tweet.

Instead of apologizing, Curtas, who is an attorney by day, wrote:

I offend people for a living. I am also something of a humorist, satirist and social commentator (as well as a restaurant critic). Political correctness is not my thing, but neither is racism.Hyper-sensitivity, on the other hand, is something I don't care for either. Making fun of a YouTube video by calling it: "The best Jap-German collaboration since 1941? would seem to me to rank somewhere down there with "I don't like your dog" and "How about those crazy Asians" in terms of offensiveness. (and it was on Twitter fer chrissakes–where abbreviations are both arcane and necessary!)And I love Japan, Japanese food and the Japanese (just ask dozens of Japanese restaurateurs in Las Vegas), despite the fact that it/they spent the years 1943-1945 trying to kill my father (the people not the food). The fact that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of that generation now take umbrage at an innocent, slight, and Twitter-appropriate condensation of the English spelling of their country, is really something I cannot sympathize with.I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but I do think the world would be a better place if we all stopped taking language (and our respective cultures) so seriously. Other choice tweets from Curtas following the Manzanar Committee blog include: "@manzanarcomm and you might want to keep your sniveling, totalitarian, language policing to yourself" and "Oh great ... now I have the hypersensitive Asian language police on my ass. #getoveryourself."

Curtas, for his part, seems to be relishing the attention, even posting an article from gossip columnist Norm Clarke about the dust up on his Facebook page.

Curtas and fellow critic Al Mancini filmed a series of episodes for a proposed Travel Channel show, All Forked Up. No scheduled date for airing any of the episodes have been released by the network since its December announcement.
· Food Critic Tastes Trouble with Tweet [~ELV~]
· All Coverage of John Curtas [~ELV~]
John Curtas [Photo: Facebook]

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