Tokyo Olympics official to resign for suggesting plus-size comedian to appear as ‘Olympig’

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The creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics said on Thursday he would step down after it was revealed he suggested a well-known tall actress perform at the games like what he called an “Olympig”.

Hiroshi Sasaki admitted this week that his suggestion regarding last year’s opening ceremony would be a “huge insult” to Naomi Watanabe, a famous Japanese fashion designer and actress.

“This cannot be taken back. I offer her my deepest regrets and apologize from the bottom of my heart to her and to those who may have been offended by this,” Sasaki said in a statement. .

Sasaki had offered Watanabe to descend from the sky during the opening ceremony disguised as a pig, the Washington Post reported.

TOKYO OLYMPICS CHIEF resigns over sexist comments, says he ’caused a lot of chaos’

He made the suggestion during an online brainstorming session with staff last year.

Hiroshi Sasaki (left), creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, said on Thursday he planned to step down for his degrading comments about artist Naomi Watanabe.
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Hiroshi Sasaki (left), creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, said on Thursday he planned to step down for his degrading comments about artist Naomi Watanabe.
(AP)

His comments marked the second time that accusations of sexism by officials at the Tokyo Olympics have marred preparations for the games, which have already been delayed for a year due to the pandemic.

In February, organizing committee chairman Yoshiro Mori was forced to resign after making sexist comments, saying women spoke too much at meetings.

Japan’s Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda was also forced to resign in a corruption scandal two years later linked to vote buying involving IOC members.

The story was first reported by the weekly Bunshun magazine, which said Sasaki’s colleagues rejected the idea because it would be inappropriate.

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Sasaki told the magazine that he thought a “pretty pink suit” would make Watanabe “charming”, but said he was immediately berated by his colleagues and felt “remorse” because of these. remarks.

He said he called Seiko Hashimoto, the chairman of the organizing committee, and submitted his resignation.

Watanabe’s body image has become an inspiration to some girls in Japan where overweight people often face derision, according to the Post.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike called Sasaki’s comments “extremely embarrassing.”

“When we talk about what we deliver from Tokyo, or from Japan, we shouldn’t be sending a negative message,” Koike said Thursday.

The Tokyo games are scheduled to start on July 23.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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