Boycott the SyFy Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy screening of the racist "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
  • Petitioned Alison Huges

This petition was delivered to:

Alison Huges

Boycott the SyFy Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy screening of the racist "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

    1. Petition by

      Ursula Liang

      Bronx, NY

On Thursday August 11th, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy with the sponsorship of the SYFY Channel plans to screen "Breakfast at Tiffany's" free for the public. This 1961 film features a blatantly-racist, minstrel-show, buck-toothed portrayal of a Japanese American, played by Mickey Rooney which has for decades offended the Asian-American community and its allies. Please boycott this film, the SyFy Movies with a View series, and let people know that despite direct communication from the NY Asian American community, the BBPC is committed to showing this horribly offensive film, which it calls a "beloved" "American classic". The film series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

In 2008, a similar public outdoor screening was successfully aborted by the city of Sacramento in response to protests over the yellowface Mr. Yunioshi caricature. The controversy over Mickey Rooney's bumbling portrayal is not new, and the BBPC and SyFy should be aware of the impact of putting this offensive portrait on the big screen. 

Why any publicly funded organization in a city where 1-in-8 residents are Asian-American or any channel with a huge Asian-American viewership would choose to show a film with a racist caricature like this is beyond me. It's not funny; It's not classic; It's not beloved to us. By screening this film, the organizers are sanctioning the racism it contains, and subjecting new audiences (including children and Asian-Americans) to a minstrel show of racist ideology. It's 2011. It's New York. Do we still have to fight the hostile, hurtful world of 1961 Hollywood?

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Syfy Movies With A View is presented by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy in partnership with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation. Ongoing public support is provided by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, NYS Senator Daniel Squadron, NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery, NYS Senator Martin Golden, NYS Assembly Member James Brennan, NYS Assembly Member Joan Millman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Council Member Leticia James, NYC Council Member Brad Lander, NYC Council Member Stephen Levin, NYC Council Member Domenic Recchia, Jr., and the Brooklyn delegation of the New York City Council. 

 

 

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. NBC Universal and SyFy contact us with solutions for contextualizing film

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      I was very happy to hear directly from NBC Universal's diversity initiative. They are working with the BBPC to come up with a statement and film clip to show before the screening on Thursday and asked us to look at what they've got planned.

    2. special screening of dragon: the bruce lee story, august 11

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Another nice article of support from Angry Asian Man

    3. Filmwax Film Series screens Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story in solidarity

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      An alternative to the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" screening: we've planned this showing of "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" w/ Filmwax! Filmwax will also be showing a series of banned Chinese films with dGenerate Films, starting with "Super, Girls!" 10/16

    4. Finally! A response from the BBPC.

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Due to space limits, I can't post the response. They agree with our concerns, but plan to screen the film. They will mention to the audience that they share these concerns about the portrayal of APAs. They offered support in getting protest permits.

    5. Wanna do something about this?

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      I'm recruiting folks who are interested in helping shape and/or implement the next stage of this protest. Please email me if you'd like to be involved!

      Ursula@9-man.com

    6. Seattle-Tacoma's The Bob Rivers Show does a 10-min segment on the protest

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Nice segment that seemed to agree that our boycott was pretty level-headed. They played a clip of the film and agreed hands down that the portrayal was racist and also objected to other un-family friendly themes in the film.

    7. Ursula Liang vs. Breakfast at Tiffany's Screening

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Apologies for the headline and photo. I specifically told the writer I didn't want this to be about me. A very well-balanced and fair article though.

    8. Reached 250 signatures
    9. New York PC-Police Seek to Cancel ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Screening

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Actually, we're boycotting the screening, because the BBPC rejected privately-delivered concerns & continues to present this as a "beloved classic" rather than a marred one. We do not advocate censorship. We prefer more community-friendly programming

    10. sixty percent say no, mr. yunioshi is not racist

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Will 60% of the audience at the BBPC screening laugh at Mickey Rooney's yellowface, making the other 40% feel marginalized?

    11. This petition is catching fire!

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Got calls from a radio station in Seattle today and the Atlantic seems to be prepping a story as well. Thanks everyone for your support! If anyone would like to be a representative for the petition and field calls and interviews, please let me know.

    12. Brooklyn's Breakfast At Tiffany's Screening Protested By Asian-American Gro

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Please vote on the Gothamist poll. Is Rooney's caricature racist? Interesting that everyone assumes this is an Asian American protest. Actually, the signatures on this petition represent a wildly multi-ethnic group.

    13. Asian-American group takes aim at 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Brooklyn showing

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      I wasn't available to talk to the reporter for this article, unfortunately, but I was contacted for comment.

    14. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has passed our concerns to BBPC.

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      "The Borough President was in a similar situation several summers ago when he was asked to attend a performance of the Public Theater’s Merchant of Venice, a play he finds highly offense due to its anti-Semitic theme."

    15. Assemblywoman Joan L . Millman has contacted BBPC to discuss the issue.

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Her position: "Certainly I would never support the showing of a film that demeans any race or national group."

    16. Reading light summer romance without Asians, Asian Americans, or people of

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Frances Kai-Hwa Wang links to the petition in her column Adventures in Multicultural Living on AnnArbor.com

    17. The 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Boycott and Other Roles We Loathe

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      An article on the protest by the definitive national APA magazine, Hyphen.

    18. The Brooklyn Paper called!

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      Great news. The press is picking up the story. Please spread the word and let's see if we can't get enough signatures to make a difference! If anyone in Brooklyn would like to give a quick quote to the paper TODAY, please email me: ursula@9-man.com

    19. Got a canned response from BBPC

      Ursula Liang
      Petition Organizer

      I sent this petition to the BBPC and got a form letter back from them re-stating their commitment to screening the film.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Emily Hrehocsik SEATTLE, WA
      • about 3 years ago

      not even a question if there was full on racism about white american in a movie, wouldn't even be on the table like this. and asian americans and allies thereof stILL have to fight for this. thes e ills; too sad america.. this is what makes me ashamed of my own country. please please please please please do not reintroduce what was once held as classic, into the new millenia of people and families in public celebration that includes blatant racism against asian americans. please please do not do this.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jim Freund BROOKLYN, NY
      • about 3 years ago

      There are a lot of great classic movies that haven't dated themselves so badly that communities today object to their portrayal. Show one of those instead.

      By the way, why is the SyFy Channel (part of NBC/Universal) getting public money?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rich Wada SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      Mickey Rooney's Mr Yunioshi character is racist and offensive. Worst than Gedde Watanable's Long Duk Dong character in "16 Candles". Another racist "classic movie".

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Hank Wong PLAINSBORO, NJ
      • over 3 years ago

      Asians have feelings like all races.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • David Wu LOS ANGELES, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      The litmus test that must pass is: would the BBPC even dare show any other type of racial caricature? (blackface, negative portrayals of Hispanics, etc.)

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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