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.”