Outrage Grows Over Rosie O'Donnell's Asian Joke

12/12/2006 at 11:20 AM EST

Outrage Grows Over Rosie O'Donnell's Asian Joke
Rosie O'Donnell
Mirek Towski/DMIPhoto
Members of the Asian-American community are expressing offense over remarks made by Rosie O'Donnell last week on The View.

Commenting on Dec. 5 about a visit to the ABC show by an inebriated Danny DeVito, O'Donnell said: "The fact is that it's news all over the world. That you know, you can imagine in China it's like: 'Ching chong. Danny DeVito, ching chong, chong, chong, chong. Drunk. The View. Ching chong.' "

O'Donnell wrote on her Web site on Friday, "It was not my intent to mock." On Sunday, she called the bit "comedy" and wrote, "I do many accents and probably will continue to. My mom in law impression offends some southerners. What can u do? I come in peace."

Over the weekend, O'Donnell's rep, Cindi Berger, said in a statement: "She's a comedian in addition to being a talk show co-host. I certainly hope that one day they will be able to grasp her humor."

But the explanation did not satisfy many, including New York City councilman John C. Liu, who sent a letter to View executive producer Barbara Walters.

Liu told FOXNews.com on Monday: "The 'ching-chong' bit is not a trivial matter. It really hits a raw nerve for many people in the community – many like myself, who grew up with these kinds of taunts. We all know that it never ends at the taunts."

He added, "It's just stupidity, and it's stupidity that justifies a response from someone who has been indignant herself when it comes to comments made by other people where she has perceived it as being negative against a particular community." (O'Donnell recently clashed with Kelly Ripa over what she considered a homophobic remark.)

On Monday, the group UNITY: Journalists of Color, which represents more than 10,000 journalists with partner organizations (the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association), issued a statement.

It reads, in part: "By allowing O'Donnell's cheap jab at Chinese Americans to go unchecked, the network is essentially condoning racial and ethnic slurs. It's a practice that should not be tolerated in today's diverse society. That's our view."

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