The Late Late Show with James Cordon host plays a game called “Spill Your Guts” that asks guests to answer a question or eat a food that’s “gross”
One of the first things we, as parents, teach our kids about food is to not “yuck someone else’s yum.” The phrase is meant to encourage our children to extend grace to the food culture of others. It’s simple, really. In the US, we eat cow meat, but in, say, India, eating cow meat is not as socially acceptable.
Affable host James Corden takes the concept of respecting others’ food and turns it on its ear with the game “Spill Your Guts.” The game goes like this: guests can choose to either answer an uncomfortable question or eat a portion of “gross” food. The problem? The foods he designates as “gross” tend to be considered delicacies or commonplace food items in Asian countries. Now the host is facing backlash for the “culturally offensive” segment mocking Asian foods.
#JamesCorden feat. a segment called "Spill Your Guts.” The foods presented are meant to be "gross…”However, many of the foods he presents to his guests are…from different Asian cultures.”
— AAPI Women Lead (@AAPIWomenLead) June 8, 2021
California resident Kim Saira told Today Food that used to watch James Corden on The Late Late Show on CBS and enjoyed his comedy. “I thought you know he was funny, he had like good content on his show,” she told the outlet. However, after watching an old segment titled “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts,” her feelings changed.
In the recurring segment, Corden offers his celebrity guests foods he calls “gross” or “horrific.” Saira saw one clip and was horrified.
“I noticed that one of the foods that he presented to someone was balut (a fertilized duck egg that is boiled and eaten from the shell), and balut is like, very specific to Filipino culture,” she explained. “It’s a food that I have been eating whenever I go to the Philippines with my grandma and my cousins, so it’s a very sentimental food to me, and I noticed that he was presenting it to a guest and calling it gross.”
“I was just so confused and I feel like it was a moment of me just being like, ‘Oh my gosh, like, this is my culture. I don’t understand why he’s making fun of it?'”
The specific clip, which appears to have originally aired in 2016 and has over 27 million views on YouTube, shows Corden and fellow TV personality Jimmy Kimmel asking each other difficult questions. The two TV hosts were clearly unexcited to eat several other common Asian foods in the segment like the thousand-year egg and chicken feet.
Saira said she was so offended she stopped watching the show but was reminded of the segment this week and made a now-viral TikTok about it on Monday.
ok but this is actual Asian food & youre going on live tv telling people how gross it is. thats cringe
Following the success of her video, people began sending her direct messages. Later that day, she shared a Change.org petition calling on Corden to “completely alter the food presented on his show” or “take the segment off completely,” issue a “formal apology” on his show, and make a donation to support Asian-owned restaurants.
“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,” the petition reads. “So many Asian Americans are consistently bullied and mocked for their native foods, and this segment amplifies and encourages it.”
As of Saturday afternoon, Saira had more than 15,000 signatures of support. She told Today Food that she hopes the petition will inspire change.
“I’ve been getting comments asking if it’s really racist for them to be putting these foods out, because to, you know, an average person who isn’t familiar with these foods, it does come off as unappealing,” she said. “And I do think that it is racist because these foods are, they’ve existed in Asian cultures for thousands of years.”
Saira added that the foods of BIPOC cultures are often appropriated by white restaurateurs, which made the segment sting more.
“I think in this segment, our foods are used for profit, because it’s obviously making them money,” she explained. “And I think that’s not right…to make like a mayo and chicken sandwich could be gross to someone else. But that isn’t rooted in a BIPOC culture, where BIPOC cultures are constantly for years profited and exploited.”
“It just hurts a lot to see someone with that much fame and that much power, you know, making fun of our foods or mocking them, because it is special to us and I think that this also perpetuates anti-Asian crimes and bullying, like in schools,” she said.