The Academy Apologizes for Any Offensive Aspect of the Oscars Telecast

PHOTO: Chris Rock presents children representing accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers on stage at the 88th Oscars, Feb. 28, 2016 in Hollywood, Calif. PlayMark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences apologized today for "any aspect of the Oscar telecast" that may have been offensive.

After last month's Oscars ceremony, more than two dozen entertainment professionals complained in a letter to the Academy about jokes made at the expense of Asian children.

At a time when diversity has been at the forefront of conversation surrounding the awards show, celebrities including Ang Lee, George Takei and Sandra Oh expressed their disappointment in the show's "tone-deaf approach to its portrayal of Asians."

Today, an Academy representative responded in a statement.

"The Academy appreciates the concerns stated, and regrets that any aspect of the Oscar telecast was offensive," the statement reads. "We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future shows be more culturally sensitive."

During the telecast, host Chris Rock introduced three representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that tabulates the show's votes. When three Asian children, whom Rock called "Ming Zhu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz," took the stage, the Oscars host then said, "If anybody’s upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids."

In another bit, Sacha Baron Cohen compared people of Asian descent to Minions.

In the letter to Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the Board of Governors, the undersigned also asked for a "concrete" plan to ensure that the show is more racially sensitive in the future.

"We’d like to know how such tasteless and offensive skits could have happened and what process you have in place to preclude such unconscious or outright bias and racism toward any group in future Oscars telecasts," they wrote. "We look forward to hearing from you about this matter and about the concrete steps to ensure that all people are portrayed with dignity and respect."