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Tokyo Olympics creative director Hiroshi Sasaki resigns after making sexist comments

Ryan Young
·1-min read
Executive creative director for the Paralympic Games, Hiroshi Sasaki
Hiroshi Sasaki resigned from his post after saying that a Japanese actor and comedian could be the "Olympig" during the ceremonies. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

The creative head of the Tokyo Olympics resigned this week after he made a derogatory comment about Japanese comedian and actress Naomi Watanabe, according to Reuters.

Hiroshi Sasaki served as the creative director for both the opening and closing ceremonies for the upcoming Games — which were delayed from last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said Thursday that he had resigned after saying during a planning group chat that Watanabe could play a role in the ceremonies as an “Olympig.”

“There was a very inappropriate expression in my ideas and remarks,” Sasaki said in a statement, via Reuters. “I sincerely apologize to [Watanabe] and people who have felt discomfort with such contents.”

Sasaki’s comments mark latest sexist incident

Sasaki’s resignation is just the latest from the organizing committee.

Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, resigned from his post as the president of the committee in February after making sexist comments himself.

Mori said on Feb. 3 that he thought board meetings with women “take so much time.”

“Women have a strong sense of rivalry," he said. "If one raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak, too. Everyone ends up saying something.”

Naturally, those comments didn’t go over well. He apologized initially, though refused to step down — which sparked more backlash. Nine days later, after hundreds of volunteers and two torch bearers resigned in protest, Mori finally stepped down.

The Olympics are set to kick off on July 23 in Tokyo.

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