Kat Ahn appeared in The Office episode A Benihana Christmas (Picture: NBC/Kat Ahn)
The Office actress Kat Ahn has called out the show’s portrayal of Asian American women, saying she felt like she was ‘just there to be the joke’.
Kat appeared in the season three Christmas special episode A Benihana Christmas, playing a waitress.
Her character Amy and another waitress, Cindy, played by Brittany Ishibashi, are seen serving Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), before joining them and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) back at the office party.
At the party, Michael is unable to tell Cindy and Amy apart.
Looking back on her role, Kat said she was ‘just there to be the joke.’
‘You’re told to shut up and be grateful,’ she added to The Washington Post. ‘Actors have no power until they become a star.’
Kat previously spoke about her appearance in the episode in a TikTok posted in January.
‘I actually understood why BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) actors play racist roles,’ she said.
‘You know, sometimes you gotta pay your rent. Sometimes you want to join the union. Sometimes you just don’t want your agent to drop you. Also this episode was before, you know, wokeness […]
‘The storyline with myself and the other Asian American actress is that we were the “uglier” versions of the actresses at the Benihana. Also that all Asian people look alike, we’re one big monolith, and we’re just one big walking stereotype without any personality or individuality. Which is problematic.’
Kat’s comments come after many stars have spoken up about the rise of anti-Asian American crime in the United States.
Mindy Kaling, who wrote and starred on The US Office, was one of those who spoke out after eight people were shot dead in Atlanta, Georgia, a majority of them of Asian descent.
She said: ‘The targeting of our Asian brothers and sisters is sickening, but not surprising given the normalizing of anti-Asian hate speech in the past year. We have to #StopAsianHate, enough is enough!’
The Office was developed for American TV by Greg Daniels, after being adapted from the UK original, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
It ran from 2005 to 2013, and lasted for nine seasons.
The Office is available to watch on Netflix.