Margaret Cho’s Golden Globes character stirs controversy

Golden Globes

Tina Fey, left, Margaret Cho (playing a new HFPA member and North Korean general) and Amy Poehler perform at the Golden Globe Awards.

(Paul Drinkwater / NBC)

Sunday night’s Golden Globes saw hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take on the sexism of Hollywood and the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, but a recurring gag about North Korea with Margaret Cho playing an army general / HFPA member has fallen flat with many viewers.

Cho appeared three times on the broadcast, ostensibly as a contributor to a fanzine called Movies Wow! She got her photo taken with Meryl Streep and closed out the show in broken English. It’s a variation of the Kim Jong Un / Kim Jong Il character she played on Fey’s series “30 Rock” a few times.

But despite the still-raw feelings in Hollywood after hackers possibly linked to North Korea released private information from Sony Entertainment an called for the release of “The Interview” to be halted, many felt that Cho’s mockery was a bit more racist than satirical.

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“Main thought after reading Margaret Cho on the Golden Globes gag was just, you know, maybe these people are not your ‘friends’,” wrote one viewer.

She continued, “The fact that THAT is what they cooked up for the only Asian American onstage last night is awfully... telling.”

On Monday, Cho took to Twitter to defend herself, saying, “I’m of mixed North/South Korean descent - you imprison, starve and brainwash my people you get made fun of by me #hatersgonhate #FreeSpeech.”

She also wrote, “I’m not playing the race card. I’m playing the rice card. #hatersgonwait #winnersgonpun.”


By Monday, the tide of public opinion seemed to be turning back in Cho’s favor, with many people speaking out against criticisms and supporting Cho’s right to do the character.

One wrote, “Well done Marg! maybe the haters shld go away & live in #NorthKorea for a while.”

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

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