Actor Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone mega-fame welcomed his first child with actress Brenda Song, and NBC News used the birth announcement to disparage him for three-year-old remarks he made about Asian babies.
On a 2018 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Culkin said he was going to one day have “tiny little Asian babies,” with Song, who is of Thai descent.
“It’s going to be adorable — a bunch of Sean Lennons running around the house, that’s what I’m looking for,” Culkin said, comparing his future children to the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
In an NBC News report, an Amherst College professor said that Culkin was essentially fetishizing his children. “More than anything, he’s exoticizing his partner, and the babies, who were at that point not even born yet,” remarked Pawan Dhingra. “I think that’s a problem in and of itself — when you are turning a person into an exotic object because of their race, or their biracial heritage.”
During the interview with Rogan, Culkin claimed he repeatedly made Asian quips to Song. “I do it with her all the time, but I don’t do it in public,” he said at the time. “It’s like, oh, baby, you’re my Yoko.”
Dhingra said Culkin’s jokes were “belittling” to Asians. “The jokes he was saying to his girlfriend at the time, about the driving and about how she looks, the punchline to all those jokes is being Asian,” he continued. “I don’t want to speak about their relationship in any way. I don’t have any bearing on that. But it does kind of fit a very tired belittling of Asians — that we are the joke. We don’t do anything funny. We can’t make a joke. We are the joke.”
The former child star has not responded to the criticism but did release a statement that he and song were “overjoyed” by the birth of son Dakota. “Mother, Father, and Baby are all healthy and happy.”