Japanese musician Keigo Oyamada has resigned from the creative team for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics after old interviews resurfaced in which he admitted to bullying a childhood classmate with disabilities, The Japan Times reports.
Oyamada, also known by his stage name Cornelius, made the comments in a pair of interviews in the mid-Nineties when his career was taking off. The popular Japanese music blog, Arma! Japan, stated that Oyamada told reporters that he tormented a classmate from elementary school through high school, with the blog characterizing Oyamada’s comments at the time as “boastful.”
In the interviews, Oyamada reportedly said he would force his classmate to eat his own feces and masturbate in front of other students. He also reportedly made the boy walk around the school with his penis exposed, tied him up, trapped him in a box, and duct-taped a cardboard box around his head and poured chalk dust inside.
After these comments resurfaced, Oyamada issued an apology on Twitter last Friday, July 16th. Per an English translation of his apology, published by Arma!, Oyamada said: “I sincerely apologize to my classmates and their parents who have been hurt by my words and actions, and I feel deep regret and responsibility for not being a good friend in school life, which is supposed to make good memories, but being in a position to hurt them… I would like to apologize directly to the person who was hurt when I was a student, if I can find a way to contact him and he will accept it.”
Oyamada’s resignation is the latest controversy to shake the Tokyo Olympics. Per Reuters, the games’ former president, ex-prime minister Yoshiro Mori, stepped down in February after making sexist comments, while in March, the creatives head, Hiroshi Sasaki, resigned after offensive comments about a popular female entertainer in Japan. There also remain ongoing concerns about Covid-19 safety as athletes from around the world head to Tokyo.
The Tokyo Olympics will kick off Friday, July 23rd, with the opening ceremony.