Colbert Has Twitter Founder Delete Show's Account

Image: Colbert Has Twitter Founder Delete Show's Account

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 07:05 AM

By Greg Richter

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Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert brought on Twitter co-founder Biz Stone to cancel his show's official Twitter account after opening the show ranting about the "dark forces" trying to silence his message.

Colbert became the target of a campaign to cancel his show on Thursday after he made a joke aimed at Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder a day earlier.

Snyder has been under fire to change the Redskins' name by activists who say it is offensive to Native Americans. Snyder has refused, but announced last week he was starting a charity called the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.

Colbert, who satirically plays a conservative commentator similar to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, said Snyder had inspired him to start his own foundation, which he called "The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."

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Colbert noted that the skit aired late Wednesday and was repeated four times on Thursday. It also was featured on the show's Facebook page. But it was not until the show's official Twitter feed, @ColbertReport, tweeted, "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation or Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever" that it began getting negative attention.

Writer and activist Suey Park started a hashtag #CancelColbert that was a top-five trending Twitter topic for 36 hours.

Colbert did not apologize for his remarks, but noted that the official account, which is not controlled by him or his show, provided no context and did not link to a video of the skit.

"Who would have thought a means of communication limited to 140 characters would ever create misunderstandings?" he asked.

After the "twit hit the fan," Colbert said, "the brain trust over at my network took the tweet down, because that's how the Internet works: You can just take stuff down, and no one will ever know it happened. Just ask Mayor Weiner."

Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress after a sexting scandal and ran unsuccessfully for New York mayor.

Park has been subjected to online harassment and threats since starting the hashtag, and Colbert told people to stop the attacks.

"She's just speaking her mind, and that's what Twitter's for," he said.

Colbert then brought out Stone and told him the network had given him control of @ColbertReport. He said he never wanted anything like the #CancelColbert incident to happen again.

Stone told Colbert he has a "kill switch that will immediately delete any Twitter account," and brought out a dynamite plunger with a Twitter logo on the front.

Colbert made one last tweet, advising people to follow his personal tweets on @StephenAtHome. With that, Stone pushed the plunger and blew up the account.

The show is prerecorded, but anyone looking at the account online during the original telecast could see the final tweet show up, followed by the account disappearing from the screen.

Colbert was unable to respond to the controversy earlier because it started just after his Thursday show finished taping. He has no show on Friday or over the weekend.

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