April 2, 2013

MANAA Complaint Leads To Cancellation of “The College Experiment” on

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Written by: MANAA

August 31, 2011–The premiere episode of “The College Experiment” airs online featuring a white host (Bob Oschack) interviewing only Asian students with accents at USC (University of Southern California) asking them about football teams in the Pac 12.  All of them display ignorance to what he’s talking about and stumble through English when going along with his request to welcome the new teams Colorado and Utah.

September 2-After receiving numerous complaints, Fox takes the segment down and issues an apology.

September 6-Aoki writes an e-mail to Nicole Bernard (Fox’s SVP of Audience Strategy) about the situation, saying, “MANAA is wondering what steps have been taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again, what is being done to reprimand the reporter, and how it happened in the first place?”

September 7-Aoki and Bernard talk on the phone.  Bernard says she was unaware of the situation and got eight departments at Fox involved trying to find out how this went on their website without anyone catching it.  Oschack and the producer were hired to do the skit; it was written by others.  She’s working on a press release and asks to whom the network should apologize (Aoki suggests “Asian and Asian American community”).

Later that day-Fox announces it’s cancelled the entire show.  “This video was clearly offensive and inconsistent with the standards FOX Sports believes in, and we sincerely regret that it appeared.  We have reviewed the editorial process by which this video was posted online and have determined that there was a breakdown in our internal processes.  FOX Sports takes its responsibility in this regard very seriously, and as a result ‘The College Experiment’ has been cancelled effective immediately, and steps have been taken to strengthen the review process so that an incident of this nature is not repeated in the future.  We sincerely apologize to the Asian and Asian American communities, and to everyone else who found this video offensive, and again to the University of Southern California, which was the unfortunate setting for the video.”
September 8-Aoki sends out a press alert about the issue.During his introductory meeting with NBC’s new Executive VP of Diversity Craig Robinson (who was previously manager of KNBC/NBC4), Aoki tells him about the issue hoping his former news station will cover it.  Later that day, through email, Robinson asks Aoki to re-send the email regarding the cancelled Fox show so he can forward it to News Director Vickie Burns.  Robinson learns the station covered the story on September 7th.

September 9-Through email, Aoki tells Bernard:  “Thanks for all the work you did on this issue.  You never called me back and I was expecting to get the finished press release.  I read the articles today and was surprised to hear Fox decided to cancel the whole show.  They felt it wasn’t redeemable or that they couldn’t guarantee prevention of something like this happening again?  How many episodes had been done?  Thanks.”

September 12-Bernard attaches the press release. She believes several episodes aired and at least two more were scheduled when it was canceled.  Aoki asks:  “Did Fox feel the kind of episodes already in the can were equally offensive and that it was best to cut its losses and cancel the whole show, or was this just to show how sorry they were?  How many weeks was this show supposed to air?”

Bernard says she assumes the upcoming episodes didn’t meet the company’s standards.  She says she’ll find out how many episodes were ordered but never gets back to Aoki about it.




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