James Corden — host of The Late Late Show and the recent Friends reunion — has been the subject of much criticism after a recurring segment on his late-night show was deemed “incredibly culturally offensive and insensitive”.
The bit, titled ‘Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts’ features Corden giving his celebrity guests the choice between answering a scandalous question about themselves or having to eat food that the comedian thinks is disgusting or inedible. Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Demi Moore and Will Ferrell are just a few of the famous guests who have taken part in the challenge.
The issue stems from the fact that the majority of the food that Corden presents to his guests are from various Asian cultures, and includes delicacies such as chicken feet and century-old eggs.
In a petition that is currently being circulated by Kim Saira on her social media accounts, she argues that Corden has openly called these foods “really disgusting” and “horrific” during episodes in which the segment occurs.
“In the wake of the constant Asian hate crimes that have continuously been occurring, not only is this segment incredibly culturally offensive and insensitive, but it also encourages anti-Asian racism,” the petition says.
“So many Asian Americans are consistently bullied and mocked for their native foods, and this segment amplifies and encourages it.”
Although Saira, who so far has over 2.5 million views on her TikTok video promoting the petition, would like to see the segment either removed or at least updated to include different food, she does not think that “cancelling” Corden himself is the answer.
Instead, she would like to see some “accountability culture” and for Corden to take responsibility for perpetuating the idea that many traditional Asian foods are “gross”.
Given that The Late Late Show averages around 650,000 viewers per episode, Saira suggests that the influence of the segment has a worrying reach.
“That means, 650,000 people are being influenced to think that native foods from Asian countries are ‘disgusting,’ or ‘horrifying,” she wrote. “Content like this continually perpetuates and encourages harm and racism against Asian Americans in our daily lives.”
Saira’s petition so far has over 45,000 signatures and is also asking for a formal apology statement from Corden to be featured on his show along with an expression of the “steps he will be taking to do better in the future”.
Responding to the criticism on The Howard Stern Show, Corden said that he would be making changes going forward.
“We heard that story, and the next time we do that bit we absolutely won’t involve or use any of those foods,” he said. “As you said at the start, our show is a show about joy and light and love, we don’t want to make a show to upset anybody.”