During an interview with ABC‘s Tamron Hall at the 92nd Academy Awards, director Bong Joon Ho faced this question: “As a filmmaker, what made you decide to have the film in Korean when you’ve had other films in English?”
The internet, including Jenna Guillaume and Marlow Stern, immediately reacted:
Someone just asked Bong Joon-ho why he decided to make Parasite in Korean. Are they going to ask every American director why they filmed their movies in English…. #Oscars
— Jenna Guillaume⁷ (@JennaGuillaume) February 9, 2020
oh god tamron hall just asked bong joon-ho on the red carpet why he made 'parasite' in korean smh #oscars
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) February 9, 2020
oh my god the quality of questions they’ve had to tolerate in the US…
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) February 9, 2020
While the question went under fire for being “blatantly ignorant” and “condescending”, the director himself handled it with grace. He answered:
Yes, Snowpiercer is also about the rich and the poor… But I wanted to explore the similar theme with characters that I could see around my own daily life, set in Korea with the Korean language.
— Bong Joon Ho, interpreted by Sharon Choi
Since the interview has gone viral, Tamron Hall has come to her defense on Twitter — responding to the criticism by clarifying her intention behind the question.
Because he made two films in English and he wanted to make the point 🧐 https://t.co/bf2mR0x7JG
— Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) February 9, 2020
Still, netizens remain divided over the validity of Tamron Hall’s question.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Parasite squad found themselves in a questionable moment during interviews with the American press. Variety became heavily mocked for this bit, which made even the interpreter do a double take, “Is that the question?”
So I've been watching different interviews of Bong Joon-ho and the cast of Parasite and pic.twitter.com/pGPt3YnSdR
— Chaewon Chung (@chaewonjrn) February 8, 2020
Watch Bong Joon Ho’s full red carpet interview with Tamrom Hall here: