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McConaughey Condemned for Slur

February 25, 1999

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ An Asian-American group condemned Matthew McConaughey for using a racial slur on Rosie O’Donnell’s show.

McConaughey, who is filming the World War II movie ``U-571″ in Italy, made the comment Tuesday when Ms. O’Donnell referred to his short hair.

``I take it you’re doing a movie. That’s the new hairdo?″ she asked.

``Yeah,″ McConaughey answered. ``I’m over in Rome fighting Germans and Japs from World War II.″

There was no audible reaction from the studio audience and Ms. O’Donnell continued the conversation without pause.

``The term `Jap’ has historically been used to dehumanize an entire race of people _ not just Japanese nationals. During World War II, the slur was used against Japanese-Americans,″ said Masaru Kent Kawai, president of the watchdog group Media Action Network for Asian Americans.

McConaughey publicist Jennifer Allen and Laura Mandel, a spokeswoman for Ms. O’Donnell’s show, said Thursday that the actor meant no offense.

``He’s the nicest young man there is,″ Ms. Allen said.

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