Seven clarifies Winter Olympics comment after ‘casual racism’ claims

Seven has clarified a ski-jumping remark by Winter Olympics commentator Jacqui Cooper, after some took to social media to label it “casual racism.”

Chinese skier Yan Ting finished her women’s aerials qualifying run with a double-twisting double somersault, prompting Cooper to note, “Really nicely done, great control, very Chinese — they all look the same. It’s very hard to tell who’s who.”

On social media some viewers suggested it was casual racism.

“Even if this is about jumping style, it’s STILL exceptionally lazy and racist. These are unique, elite athletes in Olympic competition — viewers deserve better than ‘Ah yeah same country, can’t tell them apart.’ It’s not their fault you didn’t pay attention,” tweeted Naaman Zhou‏.

The incident has even attracted coverage in the New York Post.

Seven qualified the comment in its Twitter feed.

“During tonight’s cover of the women’s aerials, commentator Jacqui Cooper a former Olympian and World Champion – noted than an aerial manouevre was in a technical and style sense, very Chinese,” Seven said.

“Meaning that the whole of the Chinese aerial team are trained in the same way – and the manouevre referenced was a classic technically perfect, trademark of that team’s style.

“At no time was the commentary racist, intended to be racist or offensive.”

 

22 Comments:

  1. Having watched the past two nights of aerial events, I think Ms Cooper was just a generally poor choice for a commentator. Her abrasive style nearly stopped me watching.

  2. Remember the Border Security promo “What’s wrong with Mr Wong?”. People on this site were very quick to jump onto that as racism. But in this instance people here are saying well its kinda racist but its alright. Go figure.

    • Think you need to look at the comments again. Some have said ‘In context this is not racism.’ Others have said ‘I think it is racist.’ But I don’t see any saying ‘It’s racist and it is ok.’ In fact quite a few have called out Twitter as being too reactionary on this one. The Border Security promo was widely panned for its wording, font, music etc. In the end Seven replaced it.

  3. I’m not sure that “we’re not racist and insensitive, just unthinking and inconsiderate – so deal with it!” is really the sold-gold-plated excuse some like to think it is…

  4. Whilst it wasn’t meant in a racist way, can understand why it’s been taken that way.
    Do think that both Basil and Jacqui have looked massively out of their depth calling this and the Opening Ceremony.

  5. jezza the first original one

    All this does is prove that social media is infested with many over reacting idiots ready to deliberately mis interpret any comment. There are things in sport which are typically aussie or english or german or south american……

  6. wellinmyopinion

    I agree that the comments, when taken in context, are not racist. I also agree that Jacqui is just not up to commentating. she can not speak clearly, mispronounced countries and can’t say ‘difficulty’.
    I know she is a ‘world-champion’ however they have Alisa Camplin over there, why is she not commentating? she at least won a medal in the Olympics.

  7. I thought to myself when she said it that we haven’t heard the last of this. Very ordinary commentary at best I thought. Basil was over the top with every jump and she was exactly the opposite. Strange.

  8. battlestargalactica

    Saw it live – understood immediately she meant all the Chinese are the same stylistically – can’t believe people are playing the racism card. Ridiculous.

  9. I heard her say it and had to rewind. You’d think commentators and broadcasters would have more tact than to say the phrase “very Chinese”. In any context, it’s racist.

    • “In any context, it’s racist.”

      Yeah no. The whole Chinese team have a style that they have all taken on. To call that style very Chinese in the context of these Olympics is no different from calling failing to get any gold medals ‘very Australian’

  10. Cooper’s commentary was ordinary on many levels. The comments about Chinese athletes, massive crashes merely receiving a “bit of bad luck”, over the top bias towards the Australians and continue references to the Australian’s performance being “personal to me”. Painful to listen to.

    • In fairness, it is commentary from the Australian broadcaster for a solely Australian audience – of course its going to be bias towards Aussie athletes.

      • Bias yes but as I stated it was “over the top bias”. Sure, be excited about the Australian competitors but at least give credit where credit is due. Some of the other competitors were exceptional and Cooper barely recognised their achievements.

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