Offensive 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Scenes Deleted for Sacramento Screening

August 22, 2008

A free showing of the classic film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" will screen with Mickey Rooney's yellow-face Mr. Yunioshi scenes deleted.

Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Cohn included the movie in his annual Screen on the Green free film festival. When he was alerted to the fact that many Asian Americans found the Rooney character offensive, he decided to delete some scenes and use it as an "educational opportunity."

Cohn's response is one way to handle it even if initially there was no thought given to how offensive Rooney's character is. As Cohn says in the article, he may take some criticism for censorship, but I could easily see an instance where the organizers would dig their heels in and say, we're going to show it and not give in to the PC police.

Another way to handle it would be to show it in its original form and have a discussion about why it is offensive. That would be an effective learning tool as well for those of may not get it.

The fact is there are many movies with Yunioshi-like characters or plot lines out there. In their time, they may have been more acceptable, but how do you deal with them today?

This blog entry is graciously sponsored by Toyota Matrix, check out their website devoted to the best in Asian American film.
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Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.



Harry, the screening has reportedly been cancelled - with Ratatouille substituting. Largely due to the prodigious efforts of Dr. Christina Fa.
Ravi, thanks for the update. Here's a link to a Sacramento Bee story on the cancellation.
cool. i always thought that flick was too much a part of the lexicon to ever have a screening canceled...