BBC Apologizes for A-Bomb Jokes

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    The BBC recently aired a program that contained some jokes about Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a victim of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The Japanese embassy was not pleased, and filed a formal protest:

    On the episode of QI, which was first broadcast shortly before Christmas, comedians such as Alan Davies and Rob Brydon were seen joking about his story. Davies, when asked to work out what the man’s link to the nuclear attack was, suggested the ‘bomb landed on him and bounced off’.

    When Fry asked whether the man had been lucky or unlucky, Brydon said: ‘Is the glass half-empty, is it half-full? Either way it’s radioactive. So don’t drink it.’

    Davies chipped in: ‘He never got the train again, I tell you.’

    But the jokes were too much for some Japanese viewers. One contacted diplomatic staff in London while others are understood to have emailed the show. Embassy officials reviewed the footage and sent a protest letter to both the BBC and producers Talkback Thames.

    The BBC responded by issuing a sorry-we-offended-you statement:

    “We are sorry for any offense caused,” the statement by the BBC and production company Talkback Thames said.

    The latest apology came after media reports about the program generated strong reactions in Japan.

    Earlier the program’s producer sent a message to the Japanese Embassy and some viewers who protested about the show, called “QI,” saying they “greatly regret it when we cause offence.”

    The BBC and Talkback Thames said in the statement, “QI never sets out to cause offence with any of the people or subjects it covers, however on this occasion, given the sensitivity of the subject matter for Japanese viewers, we understand why they did not feel it appropriate for inclusion” in the program.


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