US comedian Stephen Colbert has offered a full-throated, iftongue-in-cheek, defense of satire after outrage on social media over his offensivelanguage on Asian Americans.Colbert, who plays a tempestuous conservative commentator on his popular"Colbert Report" late-night TV show, repeatedly stressed Monday that his over-the-top jibes were meant as parody."Very important -- he is a character. He is not me," Colbert said to laughter as hepointed to footage of himself.The comedian, who was recently invited by President Barack Obama to sit at a headtable at a state dinner, came under fire last week as he attacked the owner of theWashington Redskins who refuses to change the American football team's name,which is considered derogatory by many Native Americans.
Mocking the team owner's announcement that he was establishing a fund to supportNative Americans, Colbert said: "I am willing to show the Asian community I care byintroducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals orWhatever."Asian American activists attacked Colbert via social media, saying the communityshould not serve as a demeaning punch line even if the comedian professes liberalviews. "#CancelColbert" became one of the most trending topics on Twitter."Who would have thought a means of communication limited to 140 characterswould ever create misunderstanding?" Colbert, a favorite of young liberals, said inhis response."When I saw the tweet with no context, I understood how people were offended. Thesame way I, as an Irish American, was offended after reading only one line ofJonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal,'" Colbert said, referring to the Anglo-Irishwriter's classic 1729 satirical essay."I mean, 'Eat Irish Babies'? #CancelSwift -- trend it!," Colbert said.Colbert, saying he would meet his critics halfway on calls to cancel his program,announced he was ending his supposed foundation and invited onto the stage ayoung Asian American employee, whose name he dutifully mispronounced, to layhim off.On a more serious note, Colbert urged viewers to show respect to the leading forcebehind the #CancelColbert campaign, Suey Park. The 23-year-old Asian Americanwriter and activist said she has been receiving credible death and rape threats fromwhite supremacists.