For several years viewers have called out the CBS late-night host for the bit — in which celebrities must answer personal questions or eat "disgusting foods," per the show's own description. The criticism is that traditionally Asian foods are being mocked, and it's offensive. A Change.org petition started by Kim Saira three weeks ago blew up the issue, leading Corden to address the controversy and promise change. However, Saira is "really disappointed" in how Corden addressed the issue, citing his lack of an apology.
"We heard [about the backlash] and the next time we do that bit we absolutely won't use any of those foods," the British TV personality said on The Howard Stern Show. "Our show is a show about joy and light and love. We don't want to make a show that will upset anybody."
Of the criticism, he said, "We completely understand." And while, "I don't know when we're going to do that bit again," he said, "When we do we absolutely won't use any foods [that offend]."
He added, "It's not for us to determine [why] somebody's upset or hurt about something. That's not for us to decide. All we can do is go: Alright, we get it. We hear you. We won't do that."
Corden's response came after Stern criticized the backlash. The shock jock also urged Corden not to give up the bit.
"It couldn't be a more harmless bit" featuring "bizarre food," Stern said. Then, "Outta the blue, I guess some group of people are offended by this because you are serving foods that are popular in their culture — which I don't know where culture this is, but what the f**k. Who the hell is eating this sh** — like 3,000-year-old eggs and all this horrible stuff."
Saira, whose petition has 45,500 signatures and counting as of Monday afternoon, isn't applauding how Corden has handled the controversy.
"The Late Late Show did not reach out to me about this statement," Saira tells Yahoo Entertainment. "After listening to what he said, to be completely honest with you, I'm really disappointed in this statement, which in my opinion, isn't an apology."
Saira continued, "In my petition, I specifically asked for [Corden] to publicly apologize on his show, and the reason why I was really specific about that was because I think that it is imperative for his hundreds of thousands of viewers to understand the harm that mocking these foods, rooted in Asian cultures, has on Asian people who still eat them. Besides that, I still think he should be donating to Asian organizations as well."
While Saira is "still looking forward to whether he will address this publicly and apologize," if it doesn't happen, "I'll take it upon myself and the Asian American communities and people who have helped me with this event, to create our own fundraiser to benefit Asian American organizations, since the Late Late Show has just ignored and refused it."
A rep for The Late Late Show hasn't responded to our request for comment.
For several years now, people have been calling on Corden to end or change the segment, including in Reddit threads dating back to 2016. In 2018, Andrew Sun wrote a piece for Inkstone News called "James Corden, stop dissing Asian food for laughs", noting how "ingredients that Asians consider prized and expensive delicacies" were being mocked. Sun asked, "I want to know which white, European epicurean arbiter decided that fattened duck or goose liver, which sounds better using its French name, foie gras, is gourmet and luxurious, but chicken gizzard and duck tongues are uncivilized and gruesome?"
Saira is the one who escalated it, first in a TikTok video that went viral with 2.8 million views. It showed guest Jimmy Kimmel participating in the segment and the men talking about how "terrible," "horrific" and "really disgusting" the traditionally Asian foods like a thousand-year-old egg, pig blood curd and balut were.
That was followed by the petition, which noted: "The foods that are presented are meant to be 'gross,' as they are supposed to encourage the guest to answer his questions instead. However, many of the foods that he presents to his guests are actually from different Asian cultures. He's presented foods such as balut, century old eggs and chicken feet, and which are often regularly eaten by Asian people."
It noted, "During these segments, [Corden] openly called these foods 'really disgusting,' and 'horrific.' In the wake of the constant Asian hate crimes that have continuously been occurring, not only is this segment incredibly culturally offensive and insensitive, but it also encourages anti-Asian racism. So many Asian Americans are consistently bullied and mocked for their native foods, and this segment amplifies and encourages it."
The petition called for the segment to be removed or revamped in a non-offensive way, a formal apology on the show and a donation to local Asian American organizations that are working to help Asian-owned restaurants and small businesses.
The show segment has featured a number of big-name stars, including Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, Jimmy Kimmel, Demi Moore and Anna Wintour. Corden told Stern that if they do it again, not giving a date as to when it would be, the food choices will be more like was offered to the Vogue editrix, who was offered a cheeseburger with bacon in a donut, bacon-wrapped pizza and deep-fried butter.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: