Broadcasting Standards Association, I choose you!!!

French gymnast Thomas Bouhail drew the ire of several viewers of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics when he referred to a Japanese gymnastics team as a bunch of “little Pikachus.”

Bouhail, who won a silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was appearing on French television to provide gymnastics analysis and apparently brought his Pokédex for assistance. However, many on Twitter attacked him for his statement, accusing him of racism.

We can only assume that aside from the cultural insensitivity, some people must have taken issue with the idea that a Pikachu would ever be a good gymnast. Despite their high agility, a Pikachu’s limbs are way too short to pull off Olympic-caliber maneuvers. That’s something a gymnastics analyst really ought to know.

▼ Clearly calling the Japanese team “little Hitmonlees” would have been a more appropriate Pokémon reference.

Image: Amazon

One could well argue that Bouhail’s comparison to the lovable video-game character was a good-natured but poorly framed pop-culture reference, but complaints had already been lodged with the French broadcasting authority Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) who will ultimately pass judgement. However, the CSA already have a lot on their plate dealing with announcer Daniel Bilalian for comments he made during the Rio Games’ opening ceremony. When discussing Brazil’s history, Bilalian reportedly expressed the opinion that the country “needed” its African slaves to develop.

This previous comment, which made Bouhail’s own come off about as offensive as the splash attack of a Magikarp, sparked an even more hostile reaction from anti-racist groups. The Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires de France (Representative Council of France’s Black Associations) poetically described the opening ceremony coverage in which Bilalian took part as a “festival of mistakes, ineptitudes, and colonial statements.”

We’ll just have to wait until CSA decides what to do with these little Jigglypuffs. In the meantime, as far as actual Pokémon go, I think we can all agree that you can’t develop a high level character without a lucky egg and a bunch of slave Pidgeys and Ratta…hey, let go!

Sources: Jiji.comMalaymail
Top image: Amazon, Wikipedia/JackLee (edited by RocketNews24)