Did Toby Keith make “slant eyes” at the Nobel Peace Prize party?

Last week, Toby Keith and Will Smith were performing together in Oslo, Norway, for the Nobel Peace Prize concert. First of all, this wasn’t part of the real ceremony for the concert, it was an “impromptu performance” lead by Will Smith, with Toby only joining in at times as Will sang “Rapper’s Delight”. What’s bothering people is that during the performance, Toby Keith made “slant eyes” when he heard the word “yellow” as Will sang the lyrics “to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow.” The video is above – it’s around the 25 second mark. I think it’s pretty clear that Toby was making the gesture, and not getting something out of his eye of whatever. Here’s a little more from HuffPo:

Toby Keith may have offended Asian Americans while in Norway for the Peace Prize Concert.

Dancing along as Will Smith did a version of “Rapper’s Delight,” Keith pulled his eyes back on the “yellow” of the lyrics, “to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow.”

A rep for the Asian American Justice Center told TMZ, “Toby Keith embarrassed himself and his country, denigrated the Noble Peace Prize and offended Asians and Asian Americans by using a crude, racist hand gesture.”

Keith’s rep just said, “nobody at the party thought Toby was out of line.”

[From Huffington Post]

When TMZ contacted Toby’s rep a few days later, the rep said: “No one at the concert thought Toby was out of line. Everyone was impressed with his rapping skills and that’s it … all of the artists liked each other, hung out, and it was a very friendly, genuine, and supportive atmosphere.” Er… Toby barely rapped. All he did was kind of dance awkwardly and make a racist gesture.

So says two Asian American rights groups who are now publicly slamming Toby. As TMZ reports: “A rep for the Asian American Justice Center tells TMZ, ‘Toby Keith embarrassed himself and his country, denigrated the Noble Peace Prize and offended Asians and Asian Americans by using a crude, racist hand gesture.’ Another group — the Media Action Network for Asians — also took offense with Toby, telling us, “By doing this, he is telling his Asian fans ‘you don’t matter, you’re not on my radar.’” To be fair to Toby, I don’t think he has a large Asian-American following no matter what he does. His fan base seems mainly based on white men who enjoy songs about boots up asses. For real.

This is basically the exact same controversy that Miley Cyrus got into early this year – except when she made “slant eyes” she was posing for group photos with a bunch of kids, while Toby did it in front of a huge international audience at one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies in the world. Well done, Toby. You show those Norwegians that it’s cool to make fun of Asians! F-cking ridiculous.

Here’s Toby, trying to ignore the one Asian guy at a press conference for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert:

Nobel Peace Prize Concert - Press Conference

Nobel Peace Prize Concert Press Conference

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49 Responses to “Did Toby Keith make “slant eyes” at the Nobel Peace Prize party?”

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  1. Popcorny says:

    This clown makes me want to puke.

  2. hatsumomo says:

    I didnt see anything. and that pic doesnt really do justice to the whole ‘purposely trying to ignore one race’ when everyone else is looking in the same direction. I hate photo manipulation for the basis of a story.

  3. Dorothy says:

    got to love the rednecks! I have to say I do love Will Smith though, I can’t really say why… he just has that certain something *sigh*

  4. Lantana says:

    I think Tiger’s paying Toby to change the press’ hot topic

  5. Popcorny says:

    What I saw was when Will hit the rainbow shades of humanity and said “yellow” the big Baby Huey (who was using hand gestures to demonstrate the words of the lyrics) used his finger to emulate “slant eye” … then slid right into emulating a gun for “bang bang”.
    Total scumbag.

  6. Linda says:

    Don’t pay attention to him, he’s just ignorant.

  7. Jill says:

    This is one of the weakest premises for a story scandal I’ve ever seen. He raised one hand to his EYE, not EYES, as athe reports say, plus his hand is going all over the place, plus, did he even KNOW the lyrics beforehand?
    Even if he did deliberately indicate slant eyes, so what? I have a big nose and if people notice it, it isn’t discrimination, it’s a fact.

  8. Firestarter says:

    I get so sick of everyone wanting to create a huge mountain out of a mole hill. Let’s crucify him and get it over with. Let’s name call, and say that he is “just a redneck, blah blah”.

    I hate ignorance as much as the next person, but it is getting to the point where every single thing we do is examined to the Nth degree. Pretty soon, a simple wave is going to offend someone, offering the hand gesture of a peace sign is going to spark controversy. Really, is there nothing better to complain about?

    I rubbed my eyes today and they were slanted when I did it, I guess I am being racist!

    If you think about it, there is something to offend every person on earth every second of the day if we pay such close attention to every tiny thing.

  9. Neelyo says:

    hatsumomo, i think the caption on the photo was a joke.

    tody keith has always been pretty jingoistic so it wouldn’t be a shock.

  10. Susette says:

    Not really shocking. I’m pretty sure Toby Keith has offended everybody at some point.

    Kaiser, you summed up my thoughts on this exactly: “To be fair to Toby, I don’t think he has a large Asian-American following no matter what he does. His fan base seems mainly based on white men who enjoy songs about boots up asses.”

  11. Bonfire Beach says:

    I totally agree with Firestarter.

    There IS something out in the world to offend someone every second of the day if that’s what you want to look for.

    Mountain over a molehill.

  12. Popcorny says:

    To scrutinize every little thing a celebrity does is exactly what this site’s for.
    Toby made a racist gesture.
    He’s getting called on it. Toby fans don’t like it, want to downplay it and dismiss it like likening it to a having a big nose, innocently rubbing eyes and/or warning that we now have to watch “everything we do” as a way to excuse him or hold onto hurtful ways and gestures.
    Better than pointing out the baby powder on Nicole’s face, calling out Toby’s racist gesture has an actual benefit beyond cosmetic blunder -and that’s to make people aware of how racism hurts.
    What if he squashed his nose on the color black, would you notice it then?
    The more we identify with the racist, the less we see the racism -until it’s attacking us directly and personally.
    Yeah, it’s a “big dismissable joke” because it’s Asians being attacked this time. Efrickingad.

  13. Kaiser says:

    Thank you, Popcorny. I totally agree.

    This wasn’t some innocent little gesture. Toby did it to coincide with “yellow” in the lyrics, and while it’s not the end of the world, it’s just dumb and racist.

  14. Huma says:

    Hatsumomo – You’re kidding, right? That line was a joke.

  15. lilred says:

    Well said Firestarter I agree.

  16. Praise St. Angie! says:

    what do we expect from someone who named one of his albums “White Trash with Money”.

    and yes, he definitely did make that gesture to coincide with the word “yellow”. someone needs to tell him that the Vietnam war is OVER.

  17. Alarmjaguar says:

    What popcorny said

  18. ButteryBuddha says:

    @Popcorny, Well said!
    You can see when Will Smith says Black and white, Toby points to the crowd and them himself and then since, I guess there were no Asians to point to, he decided to slant his eyes.
    I am not a Toby fan at all! I <3 country music but I always thought he was a d-bag. Guess this solidifies that! I am not going to go burn his cds but what he did was offensive and he should just apologize and move on.

  19. e says:

    Firestarter he wasn’t just rubbing his eye…but I am currently rolling my eyes. You are intentionally missing the point. Oh and isnt’ that cute…lilred…so apropos!

  20. EMV says:

    It’s rappers delight …it’s not like they were singing “we are the world” and he was being a douche…Toby Keith is a douche regardless so who cares? not me

  21. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    The guy beside him is Lang Lang: concert pianist/gold-soled running shoe enthusiast.

  22. Lee says:

    agree with popcorny.

    ‘I rubbed my eyes today and they were slanted when I did it, I guess I am being racist!’ um no, firestarter. rubbing your eyes has no correlation to slanting your eyes when you hear the word ‘yellow’.

  23. Lee says:

    but I’m over ignorant hicks and their racism. I don’t even find it offensive anymore. it’s too predictable and pathetic to give a hoot.

  24. crash2GO2 says:

    What low brow idiot. And yes, that is insulting to Neanderthals, but since they’ve probably died out, (with the exception of Russell Brand) I think I’m safe.

  25. hatsumomo says:

    Alright. I can see the sarcasm in it, but I’m just not in the right mood today. everything is irking me.

  26. Ana says:

    Today, I went off on my boss. I mentioned her racism and the fact that she thinks everyone that comes into the store is a shoplifter if they aren’t white.
    She said, “It’s a well known fact that most shoplifters are ethnic.”

    *sigh*

  27. Peach says:

    Agreed, popcorny.

    Look, celebrities live in mansions and buy 5,000 dollar handbags because they can manipulate their image correctly.

    It’s really a social contract. I like you, what you say, what you do, so I will buy into what you’re selling.

    If a celebrity fails to live up to that social contract, it’s really quite okay to call them out on it.

    But Toby Keith has always been a jackass. Here’s a sample of his lyrics in The Afghanistan Song:

    So we prayed to Allah with all of our might
    Until those big U.S. jets came flyin one night
    They dropped little bombs all over their holy land
    And man you should have seen em run like rabbits, they ran
    (the taliban)

    You know someday soon we’re both gonna saddle up and it’ll be
    Ride Camel Ride

    —-Right. Because we all ride camels. It’s just how we roll. On camels. Because we’re camel jockies. Huh, Toby? Also funny? The hundreds of thousands of innocent civillians killed by your big American jets. Fantastic to joke about and laugh about and mock. I also like the Allah line. Because Allah has no power. Even if Allah is just Arabic for God and by all Muslim standards it is considered to be the same diety as your Christian one…but do go on.

    “I’m just a middle-aged, middle-eastern camel herdin’ man
    I got a little, 2 bedroom cave here in North Afghanistan”

    –Because we all live in caves? And herd camels. Really. Another camel joke? Seriously? And for the record while your distant relatives were living in mud huts during the Middle Ages my people were actually building giant, ornate palaces and decorating it with mathmatically perfect perfect geometric calligraphy. Also inventing algebra. But no. Tell me more about the camels, Toby.
    The camels.

    Or go mock Native American ‘wompom’ dancing, a black mammy and a Mexican and we can call it a day.

    Jackass.

  28. Jen says:

    Just as all Afghans don’t ride on camels, not all rednecks and hicks are racist or ignorant. A southern accent and flannel shirt don’t make you a buffoon – talking out of your ass does.

  29. ButteryBuddha says:

    @Peach: Beautiful!! ::Claps hands:: :)

  30. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    World class ass-kicking, Peach.

  31. Emily says:

    Go Peach! LMAO @ “Tell me more about the camels, Toby.
    The camels.”

  32. Ben says:

    I don’t really see it as racist, which is a word applied far too liberally, but it is racially offensive. I might be splitting hairs here, and some would definitely disagree with me not saying it’s racist per-say, but that’s how I see these kind of thing – racially offensive/insensitive, but not quite racist.

  33. jen says:

    I’ve noticed on this site that everyone gets up in arms about racism EXCEPT when it comes to Asians. Whenever the issue is about Asians most people start saying “We’re too sensitive, we’re too PC” etc etc. When it’s about other races, people get upset and agree that racism’s bad, mmmkay, but when it’s Asians, suddenly everyone’s “too sensitive”. It happened with the Miley Cyrus incident, and it’s happened a few other times. ONLY when the issue is racism against Asians.

    Can someone explain it to me? Because I don’t get it.

  34. original kate says:

    i wish someone would put a boot in HIS ass.

  35. original kate says:

    can someone please put a boot in his ass? ick.

  36. For Sooth? says:

    I’m in the mountain – mole hill category.

    Who among you is SURE it is a slur? And who among you has NOT done something similar, with or without the knowledge that others were observing you?

    If that’s all it is going to take to start a firestorm then let’s torch the whole place, right here, right now. No? Didn’t think so.

  37. loca says:

    WHY are people like the Smiths and Toby Keith even AT the Nobel Peace Conference? Surely they can find more intelligent, more important people??

  38. Cat says:

    Yeah we’re all missing the point here. What the beep is TOBY KEITH doing at an international peace gathering?? Like. . .isn’t he on the list of who NOT to invite?? On the first spot? Why was he even let in the door, given his track record?

  39. ViktoryGin says:

    Here we go….

    His was gesture was racist, yes racist. Racial insensitiity is still tangental to racism. Like I stated in a post regarding John Mayer and some off-colored comments he made when he was fancying himself a stand-up comedian, you don’t have to be a proponent of ethnic genocide to partake of racist behavior. I know that racism is a politically stigmatized word that no one likes to be associated with, but fact is we all have our prejudices and are all capable of it. Arguably, it’s this kind of ignorance that does more damage than conspicuous racial supremacists, because few people are extreme enough in their beliefs to bear witness to this narrow-mindedness. Furthermore, too many are willing to dismiss actions like Keith’s because it’s not blatant and that’s the problem. In his case, his gesture was perfectly within context to suggest…”racial insensitivity”, if you prefer that word. On “black”, he points to Will Smith, on “white” he points to himself, guess he wasn’t creative enough to come up with a metaphor for red and brown other than the racially heterogeneous crowd. What? No Native Americans in the crowd, Toby? At yellow, he pulls at his eye. It’s pretty straighforward. But I suppose that he would have had to burn a Japanese flag for people to cry “racist”. Plus, it’s Toby Keith. He has precedence with daft, reactionary bullshit.

    I’m not Asian myself, but I vouch for them. They experience some of the most crippling self-esteem issues because of their eyes due to media-whitewashing (pun-intended) in their own countries were they are largely ethnically homogenous. So whether Toby meant it or not (I say he did), this shit is insulting. So, to have this mess coming from a prototypical “good-old Southern Boy” (with “big eyes”) just adds salt to the wound.(A wound that has its origins with those of his race that have a similar mindset, by the way.) Whatever. Lang Lang at the piano could shit on Keith, anyday.

    Oh,and Toby…안영하세요 그리고 씨발. 고머와요,Bitch.

  40. mags says:

    hey viktorgin, where’d you learn korean?! rock on. anyoung haseyo ching-gu! and haha. (my computer doesn’t do the hangul)

    to be honest, i’m not even gonna watch the clip, i mean it’s toby keith. i don’t really care either way b/c he’s either really the ignorant buffoon he portrays himself as, or he does so to sell records to ignorant buffoons…did he make a ridiculously offensive gesture, probably but it’s not like i expect him to be any better. the last time he was probably on a gossip site was when the dixie chicks were wearing FUTK shirts.
    so yeah, his schtick is to offend people and then sell crappy music to people closed minded enough to agree w/ him.
    but anyway my big questions remains: what in world was he doing anywhere near the nobel peace prize shindig??

  41. kellogg says:

    The video is mysteriously unavailable [thanks Google Chrome beta].

    I’m gonna guess what Toby Keith did was offensive. I didn’t like that Miley Cyrus wasn’t called out as promoting stereotypes but I am pretty sure her publicity machine handles most of it.

    @ViktoryGin: I think subliminal prejudice thrives in our culture. I don’t know if you’ve seen New Moon but, please? Half-naked werewolves living on a uninhabited part of town? Umm…not promoting a stereotype at all.

    I think all of us want a sense of belonging. What is unfortunate is that it often comes at the expense of “others.”

  42. apples says:

    I have also seen a few other instances on this site where a celeb is called out for making and anti asian slur (call it racial insensitivity, racism, whatever), and commenters have been all like…”that’s not racial, the PC brigade has got to stop!”

    I ask that people reconsider their notion of what is racial and what isn’t. In America, at least, there is a strong inclination for many people to believe that racism is defined as white upon black racism. If a similar slur was directed at a black person, would you believe it was racism and wrong? Why don’t Asian people deserve the same amount of respect? It seems as if among certain people, there is an attitude that Asians don’t have a right to ask that they not be subject to mockery and insult based on race.

    The Miley Cyrus picture, while it was racial, was a private snapshot of a 16 year old. Toby Keith is a full grown man singing at NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FUNCTION on a song about peaceful diversity. What he did was completely and totally ignorant and outrageous. It’s a bit frightening that some people can’t seem to see that.

    And for the commenter who said something like, who amongst us hasn’t made racial slurs and gestures when we thought no one was looking… LOL! No, I haven’t “accidentally” burned crosses in my backyard just because I thought no one was looking. I wonder what you are doing at home!

  43. princess pea says:

    How do we feel about the word “yellow” to describe Asians? I’d always heard it was pretty offensive itself… as is “red” to describe Native Americans and First Nations People.
    I agree with Firestarter… there’s at least seven things in this video we can villify, if not hundreds of them.

  44. crash2GO2 says:

    @For Sooth?: I can safely say that I have NEVER made ‘slant eyes’ to myself privately. I may have mimicked the gesture as a child, not understanding what I was doing, but my parents were quick to correct me and explain why it was inappropriate. Too bad not everyone was as fortunate as I.

  45. lilred says:

    @e: how is that apropos ? you know nothing about me , so it does stand to reason that you would not know that I have had the name lilred for some time, due to the fact that I am short and have red hair.

  46. ViktoryGin says:

    @ mags

    Cheers! 당시도 한국말 잘아요? I currently live in South Korea. That’s why Keith and ignorant, small minded people like him make me mad. I’m not even close to fluent yet, however. It’s one of those languages that you study and actually feel yourself getting worse. And then I’m lazy.

  47. mags says:

    @ViktoryGin

    I’m in the ROK too! are you and english teacher as well? my students try to teach me Korean but their patience is pretty short.
    I definitely agree the brainwashing here starts so early. fair skin, “small face” big eyes, my students are in elementary school and already have it in their heads that they aren’t beautiful because they look “too Korean”. it breaks my heart.

  48. I. Lee says:

    @ViktoryGin I love you. Fan of your Korean.

    when I was growing up, (I’m in my 20s now), kids in elementary school would make fun of me for being Asian. Though I’m Korean, they’d slant their eyes hideously to mock mine and say, “Chinese!”

    so yes, I find that gesture offensive and racist. if a gesture is used to make fun of a person for his/her race, then the gesture is racist.

  49. TobyRNeck says:

    Pay attention to the video. TK pointed to his neck when Will Smith said “white”. LOL. The asian guy(a pianist) in the picture was way famous than TK (well, not in a town full of truck).