Chris Rock has been blasted for a joke he made at the expense of Asian-Americans while hosting the Oscars on Sunday night (28Feb16).
The comedian waded into the diversity row sweeping Hollywood, and many found his hosting positive and complimentary, but one quip caused outrage. It occurred when Chris presented a skit in which he presented three "accountants" to the audience, who actually turned out to be Asian children wearing suits.
The joke was understood to be a reference about the Asian race being good with figures.
"If anybody is upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids," Chris said.
The punchline was believed by many to be an inappropriate reference to the child labor issue in Asia.
Following the joke, actress Constance Wu wrote on her Twitter.com page: "To parade little kids on stage w/no (with no) speaking lines merely to be the butt of a racist joke is reductive & gross. Antithesis of progress."
Meanwhile, the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice have accused Chris of actually setting back diversity with the joke.
"Last night's ceremony, and particularly the 'joke' involving Asian children, which played off more than one damaging stereotype of Asians and Asian Americans, exposed one of the failings of how we talk about race in America: race relations are not a black-white binary," the group's head Mee Moua said in a statement to BBC News.
"It is to all of our detriment to look at race narrowly. We need to work together to dismantle the systems that devalue the experiences of minority groups so we can see the tales of the diversity that have shaped our nation reflected accurately."
Chris has yet to comment on the controversy.