Ken Jeong Rips Critic Accusing Him of ‘Yellowface Buffoonery’

“We are above board people. And you are not,” “Dr. Ken” star says of Asian-American writer Christian Fan

Ken Jeong fired off a series of tweets after Asian blogger Christian Fan referred to Jeong’s comedy style as “blackface yellowface buffoonery.”

“Invited [Christian Fan] to set for a day of discussion and he proceeded to call me a blackface yellowface buffoon,” Jeong tweeted. “I call him a cowardly blogger.”

“[Christian Fan] we treated you & daughter with kindness and respect when you came to our shoot night,” Jeong continued. “We are above board people. And you are not.”

Fan, the co-founder of Hyphen magazine, wrote a blog post for the Center for Asian American Media after attending a set visit for Jeong’s new ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken.”

“If ‘Dr. Ken’ is going to succeed, it’ll require Jeong to depart from a trademark style grounded in improv, physicality, and over-the-top blackface and yellowface buffoonery–qualities that don’t necessarily jive with the heavily scripted, multi-camera format, much less primetime television,” Fan wrote.

“Jeong’s funniest and most famous roles are famous and funny because they take the most vulgar Orientalist stereotypes to unexpected and uncomfortable extremes…or because they play with an arch knowingness about racial stereotypes,” Fan continued. “If he’s able to dominate scenes alongside actors like Zach Galifianakis–one of the most formidable buffoons in the business–then it’s in large part because of this racial vocabulary.”

Fan issued a statement to TheWrap on the incident, which reads:

I think Ken’s taken me out of context, and I didn’t mean to insult him. But I do understand why he’s angry. He has appeared in blackface on ‘Community,’ and ‘yellowface’ was meant to highlight how his over-the-top performance of Asian stereotypes actually critiques them. The point I was trying to make was that his buffoonish performance of blackface and yellowface ends up making fun of and sending up those stereotypes.

Representatives for Jeong and ABC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.