Margaret Cho says she forgives Jay Leno for making anti-Asian jokes

Margaret Cho spoke about Jay Leno's past anti-Asian comments.
Margaret Cho said that Jay Leno’s apology for his anti-Asian jokes was ‘meaningful.’ Tibrina Hobson/ Paul Morigi/ Getty Images
  • Margaret Cho spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the Netflix film, “Good on Paper.”
  • Cho, 52, said Jay Leno’s apology over his anti-Asian jokes was “meaningful.”
  • In March, Leno issued an apology in a joint statement with Media Action Network for Asian Americans.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Comedian Margaret Cho has forgiven Jay Leno for a series of anti-Asian jokes made during his career.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Lynette Rice, Cho opened up about the Netflix film, “Good on Paper,” and her thoughts on LGBTQ representation in media.

Cho mentioned that she will appear on the CNBC show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” prompting a question about her feelings towards Leno’s anti-Asian comments.

“Frankly, Asian jokes go over my head because I’ve heard so many of them,” said Cho. “I do a noise-canceling thing with them.”

Cho added that she booked her spot on Leno’s show “a while ago.”

“For him to step up and take respon­sibility is very meaningful. I’m so pleased with his response. I accept apologies,” she said.

In March, Leno released the apology in a joint statement with Media Action Network for Asian Americans.

“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” he said. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.”

He continued: “At the time, there was a prevailing attitude that some group is always complaining about something, so don’t worry about it. Whenever we received a complaint, there would be two sides to the discussion: Either ‘We need to deal with this’ or ‘Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.’

The statement said that Leno made at least nine documented jokes about Chinese or Koreans eating dogs or cats. One recent incident happened in 2019 when Leno made a similar joke while appearing on “America’s Got Talent.”

“Too many times I sided with the latter even when in my heart I knew it was wrong. That is why I am issuing this apology,” said Leno.