German public TV in row over blackface comedy stunt

AP News
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Posted: Oct 28, 2016 11:13 AM

BERLIN (AP) — German public broadcaster SWR has come under fire for a comedy sketch in which a presenter is disguised using blackface.

The Initiative of Black People in Germany says the stunt reflects a racist tradition in which minorities are depicted with exaggerated features to make audiences laugh.

The group is calling on SWR and its parent network ARD not to broadcast the clip on Saturday's edition of "Verstehen Sie Spass?" — Germany's equivalent of "Candid Camera."

SWR rejected the demand, saying presenter Guido Cantz had previously dressed up as an old man and a "striking woman" in order to fool his victims.

"This time he slipped into the role of a black African," SWR said Friday, adding that neither character nor the sketch was intended to be "defamatory, discriminatory or hurtful."