In a bit that was meant to mock the whole Sony e-mail hack/The Interview uproar, Cho played the uber-serious North Korean — complete with uniform, teen mag featuring Kim Jong-un on the cover and pale white makeup — in a little reprise of her Kim Jong-un/Kim Jong-il from Tina Fey’s 30 Rock.
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Watch Margaret Cho at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards
While Fey, Cho and Amy Poehler meant it to be satirical, some saw it as something much more insidious: racism.
main thought after reading Margaret Cho on the Golden Globes gag was just, you know, maybe these people are not your 'friends'
— Nicole Chung (@nicole_soojung) January 12, 2015
But today, Cho smacked back at those people who don’t understand the difference between racism and satire.
“I’m of North and South Korean descent, and I do impressions of my family and my work all the time, and this is just another example of that,” she told BuzzFeed. “I am from this culture. I am from this tribe. And so I’m able to comment on it.
“I can do whatever I want when it comes to Koreans — North Koreans, South Koreans. I’m not playing the race card, I’m playing the rice card. I’m the only person in the world, probably, that can make these jokes and not be placed in a labor camp.
“I feel if there’s negativity, it’s other people’s judgments about what they feel that Asian-Americans are allowed to do, really,” she said. “You’re putting expectations on us that we have to remain Asian-American, that we can’t actually play people from Asia. When we have British people playing American icons, there’s no backlash. But for Asian-Americans, it’s a very particular set of expectations that we are set to maintain, and that in itself is racist.”
And on Twitter, at least, there seemed to be more people on Cho’s side than the other.
— Adam Sank (@AdamSank) January 12, 2015