Teddy Dang (Ken Jeong) is confronted by a deranged car salesman (Charles Napier) in “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. (Courtesy of Paramount Vantage)
Teddy Dang (Ken Jeong) is confronted by a deranged car salesman (Charles Napier) in “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. (Courtesy of Paramount Vantage)


The new movie featuring “Entourage” star Jeremy Piven has angered Asian American groups with its depiction of the beating of an Asian character, which the groups say depicts a hate crime.

“The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard,” stars Piven as a used car salesman who hires a team of “car mercenaries” to boost sales during the July Fourth weekend. The film opened in sixth place last weekend earning $5.4 million.

In a scene from the trailer, the Piven character gives a pep talk to his sales team. The members of the sales team include Teddy Dang, an Asian American, and a man who views the Asian character skeptically. The Piven character says, “Don’t get me started on Pearl Harbor — the Japs flying in low and fast. We are Americans and they are the enemy! Never again!”

While producers say the film is a satirical comedy, the Japanese American Citizens League and the Media Action Network for Asian Americans both criticized the scene. As the scene continues, Teddy Dang, portrayed by Ken Jeong, is then beaten by one of the salesmen.

The Piven character then says, “Alright, stop! We have all just participated in a hate crime. Let’s get our stories straight. Dang came at us with a samurai sword, fire extinguisher and Chinese throwing stars.”

“MANAA is appalled that Paramount included in their trailer of “The Goods” a scene which promotes and encourages racial violence against Asian Americans. Japanese Americans — and Asian Americans in general — have always been blamed for the bombing of Pearl Harbor,” MANAA said in a letter to Paramount and CBS. “What makes this scene even more chilling is that it takes place in an auto dealership. In 1982, on the night of his bachelor party, Vincent Chin was beaten to death with a baseball bat by two out of work Detroit auto-workers who blamed the problems of the American automobile industry on the success of Japanese imports. Chin died five days before his wedding day.”

“By their very nature, racial slurs are hurtful and they have the potential for causing great harm by singling out and marginalizing an identifiable group of people. The scene is a sad reminder of a time during the 1980s and 1990s when “Japan-bashing” based on perceived economic threats reached a dangerous level where racial slurs provoked hate crimes and real people were victimized resulting in a situation where Asian Americans were made to feel isolated and vulnerable,” the JACL statement read.

“The producers of The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard need to apologize because they crossed a line in thinking they could use a racial slur simply for the sake of a laugh.”

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  1. I think they should have gotten Ken Jeong’s thoughts on this whole thing, surley if he was offended by this scene he wouldn’t have done it. The story about the guy who was beaten to death with the bat is very sad, but I think in this day in age us Americans have learned to live with people of a different race. People keep saying “it’s just a comedy.” Well that’s true but that doesn’t mean the scene couldn’t have any effect on people. When you watch Jackass don’t you think dumb teens want to do their stunts? I’m sure ignorant people thought, “hey these guys beat up an asian because the bombed pearl harbor, they made it look funny so let’s go out and beat up an asian.” sounds funny I know but there are a lot of stupid people. So I guess I’m just trying to say….F*** YOU AMERICA…F*** YOU!!!

  2. Great point! > Koreans have far worse names for the Japanese than the one word used in the film

  3. Why didn’t any of you get offended by Ed Norton curb-stomping a black man to death in American History X? It’s called acting, people.
    “Mr. Jeong, was your silence bought with a paycheck?”
    Oh I see…they were playing racist characters in a film but you are actually an ignorant racist in real life who thinks people from all Asian countries look the same. Koreans have far worse names for the Japanese than the one word used in the film, so you should try opening a history book and learn about the years of invasions and raping of Korean women by the Japanese. Maybe then a little joke in a movie won’t seem so important anymore.

  4. It was a comedy, wasn’t it? Why not just leave it at that and put our energy into more pressing matters?

  5. I have to agree with Sarah. This is much ado about nothing. People need to stop taking everything so seriously, especially when the movie is obviously not being serious.

    By the way, Ken Jeong was hilarious in “Knocked Up”.

  6. I respect Sarah’s right to express her opinion and let’s not get into name calling or invectives. Sarah, I hope you had never had to experience taunts that I received as a young kid: “slant eyes,” “chink,” “rice bowl” (which I found quite odd as the person hurling that epithet considered it an insult). I never really let get to me because I had friends of different races. So I tried to understand the logic behind the name callers’ prejudices and concluded that it is impossible to comprehend illogicality. Rather than angry you end up feeling sad for them. Mr. Piven did you actually think it was funny? Mr. Jeong, was your silence bought with a paycheck?

  7. I find it somewhat hypocritical that Hollywood portrays itself as an enlightened and liberal force and yet it creates product that panders to the lowest common denominator. It’s not racism. It’s not even satirical comedy. It’s economics. So, studio executives please don’t insult our intelligence when you wave your conservative-bashing credentials or brandish your equality-loving lapel pins because you happen to be within the scope of a camera lens.

  8. I have not seen the movie, but the trailer is extremely insulting. I wonder how it would play if a group of white employees put a beat-down on an over the top lampoon of an African-American guy? Believe me, I am far from politically correct, but WTF??

  9. The facts of the matter are this:

    1. Jeremy Piven is a wannabe movie star who seems completely comfortalbe playing racist douch-bags (he may or may not be one himself…I’ve never met him).
    2. Ken Jeong is an embarrassment to the Asian-American community (he makes William Hung look like Bruce Lee).
    3. The movie tanked at the box-office…perhaps a hopeful sign that the American movie-going audience really doesn’t have that bad of taste!
    4. Sarah — your ignorance/naivete is quite disappointing. If you opened up your eyes and ears to the plight of your people in this country, you would be signing a different tune…

  10. To Sarah Reyes: I would ask, “why wouldn’t you protest?” And I feel confident there are progressive/activist Latinos who would step forward and speak out against a racist depiction like that. For me, seeing an Asian American called a ‘Jap’ and then beaten up for laughs seems pretty f***ed up. That they make fun of the fact they committed a hate crime doesn’t make it any less f***ed up and, in fact, seems to trivialize hate crimes in general. So near to the anniversary of Joseph Ileto’s death (killed in a racist hate crime) this is particularly appalling.

    Give me a break? Give me a break from the seemingly endless stream of racist stereotypical depictions of Asians and Asian Americans in movies and television. Give me a break from everyone who insists those depictions aren’t racist. Give me a break from the people who insist being called ‘Jap’, ‘gook’ or ‘chinaman’ isn’t racist. Give me a break from those that see no correlation between overt, racist sentiment and racist violence.

  11. OMG give me a break what if it Teddy Dang was a mexican ( I am mexican by the way) “Reyes” anyway and Charles Napier did the same to a mexican after Don Ready Shots Remember the Alamo and everyone jumped on the little mexican man .. My people would never cry racial slurs are hurtful and they have the potential for causing great harm by singling out and marginalizing an identifiable group of people.. Give me a break .. Sarah