HOLLYWOOD, California (The Adobo Chronicles, Los Angeles Bureau) – Asian American community leaders have joined First Amendment advocates in protesting ABC Network’s announcement that it will revive the 197o’s ‘The Gong Show.’
Created and produced by Chuck Barris, ‘The Gong Show’ was known for its free-wheeling style, absurdist humor, and the titular gong used by the judges to cut short bad auditions.
ABC has given a 10-episode order for this new version of the irreverent talent show competition, which is being executive produced by Will Arnett.
A gong is an African, East and South East Asian musical percussion instrument that takes the form of a flat, circular metal disc which is hit with a mallet. It has its origins in China and it spread to the rest of Southeast Asia, including many sacred Temples in the region.
It is therefore not surprising that Asian Americans are not happy with the objectification of the gong, calling it racist and offensive.
Free speech advocates, on the other hand, say that the concept of the show violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees the freedom of speech. “No matter how bad a speech (or act) is, no one has the right to silence the speaker or actor by hitting a gong,” they said.
This is the second network controversy in just the past week. Earlier, NBC cancelled a new show, “Mail Order Family,” after Asian Americans and women’s groups protested the perpetuation of racist and misogynist stereotypes. The show was supposed to be about an American widower who takes a Filipina mail-order bride to help raise his two kids.