On August 11th Breakfast at Tiffany’s is scheduled to screen at Brooklyn Bridge Park—the classic Audrey Hepburn film screens pretty much every summer, somewhere in the city. Since the film was released in 1961, Mickey Rooney's role as Mr. Yunioshi has drawn attention. In the 1993 film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Lee gets upset at Rooney's stereotypical depiction of an Asian man, which has been called everything from "broadly exotic," to "comedic," to "overtly racist" and a "cringe-inducing stereotype" by critics over the years.
Now a Bronx woman, Ursula Liang, has started a petition against Brooklyn Bridge Park's "Movies With A View" series, writing: "By screening this film, the organizers are sanctioning the racism it contains, and subjecting new audiences (including children and Asian-Americans) to a minstrel show of racist ideology. It’s 2011. It’s New York. Do we still have to fight the hostile, hurtful world of 1961 Hollywood?"
Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp's Regina Myer told the NY Post they "recognize that one character in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie is an offensive stereotype, but this does not negate the value of the film as an American classic."
When the movie was protested and eventually pulled from a screening in California in 2008, Rooney explained, "They hired me to do this overboard, and we had fun doing it. Never in all the more than 40 years after we made it—not one complaint. Every place I’ve gone in the world people say, ‘God, you were so funny.’ Asians and Chinese come up to me and say, ‘Mickey you were out of this world.’" What do you think?