James Corden Reacts To Anti-Asian Racism Backlash Over Late Late Show 'Spill Your Guts' Segment
James Corden is in hot water over a Late Late Show bit.
The British comedian’s popular talkshow is known for buzzy segments that have spun off into their own series, such as Carpool Karaoke or Drop the Mic. One recurring portion of the show that has frequently gone viral is “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts,” in which celeb guests have to answer invasive questions or eat from a selection of “disgusting” foods. Big names that have played the game include the Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian, and a memorable round of Harry Styles vs his ex Kendall Jenner, among others.
The problem with the “disgusting” foods is that they are actually customary in a particular culture, often traditional Asian foods that Corden’s show positions as not just exotic, but “horrific.” Earlier this month, 24-year-old Kim Saira pointed out the hurtful trend on TikTok, highlighting an appearance where the host offered Jimmy Kimmel balut (boiled fertilized egg dish), pídàn (thousand-year-old egg) and xuě dòufǔ (pig blood) as alternatives to truth telling. Both men mocked the spread, calling it “terrible” and bemoaning the smell.
Kim captioned the post:
“ok but this is actual Asian food & youre going on live tv telling people how gross it is. thats cringe”
When the TikTok went viral, she followed it up with a Change.org petition calling on the show to #CancelSpillYourGuts. The petition read:
“James Corden’s The Late Late show features a segment called ‘Spill Your Guts,’ where guests either have to answer difficult questions he gives them, or eat the foods that are presented to them. The foods that are presented are meant to be ‘gross,’ as they are supposed to encourage the guest to answer his questions instead. However, many of the foods that he presents to his guests are actually from different Asian cultures. He’s presented foods such as balut, century old eggs, and chicken feet, and which are often regularly eaten by Asian people.
During these segments, he’s openly called these foods ‘really disgusting,’ and ‘horrific.’ 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. So many Asian Americans are consistently bullied and mocked for their native foods, and this segment amplifies and encourages it.”
It went on:
“The media holds so much influence: according to Wikipedia, the Late Late show averages over 650,000 viewers per episode. That means, 650,000 people are being influenced to think that native foods from Asian countries are ‘disgusting,’ or ‘horrifying.’ Content like this continually perpetuates and encourages harm and racism against Asian Americans in our daily lives.
We are holding James Corden and The Late Late Show accountable for their actions, and perpetual harm this segment causes to Asian American communities. At the very least, Asian American communities deserve an apology and this segment to be taken off the air.”
The petition, which has more than 45,000 signatures, called for the Late Late Show to change or cancel the segment, issue an apology on the show, and donate funds to organizations helping Asian-owned restaurants and small businesses. At least one of the action items can now be checked off, as the late-night host revealed on Howard Stern’s show that changes would be coming to “Spill Your Guts.” He shared:
“We heard that story, and the next time we do that bit, we absolutely won’t involve or use any of those foods. As you said at the start, our show is a show about joy and light and love, we don’t want to make a show to upset anybody.”
He then hinted at the new direction for the segment, saying:
“You know, look, in the same way that when we played it with Anna Wintour, we gave her a pizza covered in cheeseburgers. Do you know what I mean?”
In an email to Today, Kim expressed disappointment in James’s response. She told the outlet:
“The Late Late Show did not reach out to me about this statement, I actually found out from another news source I was interviewing with. After listening to what he said, to be completely honest with you, I’m really disappointed in this statement, which in my opinion, isn’t an apology. In my petition, I have specifically asked for James Corden to publicly apologize on his show, and the reason why I was really specific about that was because I think that it is imperative for his hundreds of thousands of viewers to understand the harm that mocking these foods, rooted in Asian cultures, has on Asian people who still eat them. Besides that, I still think he should be donating to Asian organizations as well. I’m still looking forward to whether he will address this publicly and apologize.”
“If the Late Late show doesn’t respond, I’ll take it upon myself and the Asian American communities and people who have helped me with this event, to create our own fundraiser to benefit Asian American organizations, since the Late Late Show has just ignored and refused it.”
We have to agree with Kim. While James did acknowledge that the segment might “upset” people, he didn’t address how potentially harmful it can be to take these foods out of their cultural contexts and mock them, using them as “punishments” for a game. It would be nice to see him take on Kim’s other two action items and uplift Asian cuisine at a time of rising anti-Asian hate.
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