Mexican TV Hosts Taken Off Air For Racially Offensive Gesture Towards Koreans

Venezuelan celebrity chef James Tahhan has been suspended from his TV network Telemundo after he made a racist “slant eye” gesture while celebrating Mexico’s entry into the next round of the World Cup thanks to South Korea’s victory over Germany.

james tahhan


The chef made the gesture on the morning show Un Nuevo Dia, which he co-hosted with journalist and model Janice Bencosme, who laughed and seemed to copy the gesture.


The clip went viral in an immediate backlash against the network.

  • “They should be immediately fired. @NBCUniversal , @Telemundo , @cesarconde_ know this: If these people are ever on the air again on your network you will have lost any right – any right at all – to EVER criticize ANYONE else about their own racist statements and policies.”
  • “I’m Latino and ofc I see this as racist and ALL other Latinx folks I’ve talked to agree. It’s not who we are and why I put this offensive action on blast. They shouldn’t get a pass. ‘Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.’ Your move, @Telemundo, we’re watching.”
  • “It’s 2018 Telemundo, ew.”
  • “So inappropriate.”


Many called for both of the hosts to be fired from their posts for their offensive gestures.

A post shared by Bag Snob (@bagsnob) on


After receiving backlash from worldwide viewers, both hosts were placed on “indefinite” suspension in response to the controversy.

james and janice

“We are extremely disappointed with our morning show contributors James Tahhan’s and Janice Bencosme’s gestures referring to the South Korean national soccer team. Our company takes this type of inappropriate behavior very seriously as it is contrary to our values and standards. As a result, both James Tahhan and Janice Bencosme have been placed on an indefinite suspension.” — Telemundo


But some netizens are demanding the hosts be fired completely.


James Tahhan and Janice Bencosme weren’t the only ones who made the gesture, with images of Mexicans celebrating the victory immediately after the World Cup game appearing online.

Many Mexicans Are Celebrating Korea’s Soccer Win, But There’s Just One Problem… It’s Super Racist


In response to the immediate criticism, many of the original posters claimed they did not mean to offend and were unaware it was a racist gesture. Images were deleted and apologies posted.


“I apologize to all Koreans who were offended by my action. I didn’t know that the gesture is offensive and racist. I am ashamed of what I have done and promise nothing like it will ever happen again. I’m sorry.” — @emmanuelojedalopez


For his part, James Tahhan officially apologized for his gesture on daytime television.

James apology

“During the celebration for Mexico’s qualification, I made a mistake and made an inappropriate and insensitive gesture towards the Asian community. It was a lack of sensitivity on my part. I admit that I did something wrong and wanted to apologize to anyone who was offended by it. The World Cup is a great opportunity to bring together friends, strangers, families and entire countries, and not to divide our communities.” — James Tehhan


Janice Bencosme also posted to social media, apologizing for her actions.


Proving how divided the world community is, some netizens of Asian descent are defending the hosts.


The World Cup is a forum for national pride, but that can bring it’s share of controversy!


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