How I Met Your Mother Creators Apologize for Racist Asian Episode

Entertainment Jan. 16, 2014 AT 3:10PM
HIMYM The creators of How I Met Your Mother apologized Wednesday, Jan. 15 after airing an offensive episode earlier this week that outraged the Asian community. Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/Fox

How I Met Your… uh oh! CBS' hit series How I Met Your Mother angered the Asian community this week after the sitcom re-casted three of its white actors in yellowface and had them dress in stereotypically Asian garb, in a controversial episode that aired Monday, Jan. 13.

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Titled "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra," the episode began with the show's main characters, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) and Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), seated in a bar as Segel's character explains how he underwent yearlong training in Shanghai, China to learn how to properly deliver a slap to Stinson.

The show then included three "masters" -- played by cast members Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor (the latter complete with a Fu Manchu mustache) -- who taught him the art of the epic slap. The episode was so offensive to some that viewers used the #HowIMetYourRacism hashtag to air their grievances.

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Series co-creator Carter Bays responded to the backlash Wednesday, Jan. 15, tweeting on behalf of showrunner Craig Thomas as well: "With Monday's episode, we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we’ve always loved," he wrote. "But along the way we offended people. We're deeply sorry, and we’re grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it." 

"We try to make a show that's universal, that anyone can watch and enjoy. We fell short of that this week, and feel terrible about it," Bays added. "To everyone we offended, I hope we can regain your friendship, and end this series on a note of goodwill."

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During the series' Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday, Jan. 15 in Pasadena, Thomas opened up on the possible ending of How I Met Your Mother, which is currently in its ninth and final season: "We want to keep the end really clean, really clean and respectful. This show is ending, and whatever that ?? whatever 'How I Met Your Dad' would ever be, if it goes, it has to prove itself on its own, and the show deserves the best possible ending that it could get, and the fans who stuck with us deserve that, and that's what we intend to give that."

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How I Met Your Dad is the planned spinoff of the popular sitcom. The one-hour series finale of How I Met Your Mother will air March 31.

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