SEATTLE — Densho, a nonprofit that uses digital technology to share the stories of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II, announced Nov. 17 that it is taking down a video narrated by actor/activist George Takei.
“After careful consideration and internal dialogue, we at Densho have made the decision to remove a short video narrated by George Takei that was previously featured on our website and YouTube channel,” the organization said in a statement. “In light of the very serious allegations of sexual assault brought forth by Scott Brunton last week — as well as a troubling interview with Howard Stern where George jokes about groping men against their will — we feel we cannot remain silent on this issue.
“We wish to be clear that this is not a judgment of guilt or innocence. For his part, George has denied the allegations, stating: ‘I want to assure you all that I am as shocked and bewildered at these claims as you must feel reading them.’ So we are not here to drag George through the mud.
“But neither will we contribute to the institutional silence that protects abusers by ignoring the statement of an alleged victim. As Jenn Fang wrote for Reappropriate earlier this week, each of us has a moral imperative to listen to survivors of sexual assault and treat their stories ‘as though they are at least credible — no matter how much we might admire those who stand accused.’
“Our mission at Densho is to tell untold stories, to shed light on dark and ugly truths so that our country might one day live up to its promise of justice for all. If we turn the lights off on George’s accuser, we send a message to countless others that their own stories of harassment and assault will not be believed.
“To create real, lasting change we must be willing to talk openly and honestly about sexual abuse in our communities. We must speak out so that victims and survivors have the support to speak up.”
The decision has elicited both praise and criticism on Facebook, including the following.