A language tutoring platform is facing a backlash over a promotional video netizens have deemed racist and sexist. But Tutoroo’s founder has denied the claims, adding that the controversial clip will not be removed.
The promo, first posted last year but uploaded across social media again last week, involves a western man approaching an Asian woman for her number. However, she mispronounces her number in English, leading the man to believe she was asking for sex.
“This is beyond awful. I think you should take it down, apologize and send whoever came up with it and whoever approved it on some diversity training,” said Vanessa Nolan on Twitter.
I called out this video as offensive and this is the response I got https://t.co/ImwblRqrmG pic.twitter.com/MEguyNCHzO
— Yuen Chan (@xinwenxiaojie) February 20, 2020
“Your ad says come to Asia where beautiful women are waiting to be laughed at and patronised… and they’ll even go on a date with you! Misogyny and racism aren’t funny. Do better,” said “@LianainFilms” on Twitter.
hahahaha this is like the first thing that comes up for me on a search https://t.co/2PKmSxuaMx pic.twitter.com/bFsyiMaCFD
— Still Uninfected Paddy (香港) (@HighlandPaddyHK) February 21, 2020
Others called the clip “disgraceful” and said it played into “centuries of stereotypes, fetishism, and oppression.”
We believe that YES, the video we made is FUNNY. We believe that NO, it is not racist nor sexist. We believe we can make fun of any language or accent, and we will. Strangely enough, none of the videos making fun of accents such as French, Spanish, Arabic or Hindi ever 3/X
— TUTOROO (@ContactTutoroo) February 21, 2020
However, the founder of the Singapore-based firm Nicolas Vanhove told HKFP that “the response on Facebook has always been very positive, and most of our FB audience is Asian.”
Vanhove added that 95 per cent of his staff were Asian: “The video aims to be funny and to make fun of accents, dialects and misunderstandings when it comes to learning a new language… we will not remove the video!” he said.