Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Cornelius resigns from Tokyo Olympics gig after history of school bullying resurfaces

In interviews from the mid-1990s, the Japanese musician admits to tormenting classmates with disabilities

Cornelius in 2014.
Cornelius in 2014.
Photo: Atsushi Tomura (Getty Images)

Japanese musician Cornelius—real name Keigo Oyamada—resigned from the creative team for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics after interviews from the mid-1990s resurfaced in which the composer proudly admits to brutally bullying classmates with disabilities for years. This comes days before the opening ceremony of the contentious Olympic Games. Many people questioned Oyamada’s role of overseeing the music for the Olympics and Paralympics.

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In the ‘90s, the rock musician told several Japanese magazines that he tormented a mentally disabled boy from elementary school through high school. According to Rolling Stone, his actions included: forcing one of his classmates to eat his own feces, to masturbate in front of other students, and to walk around the school with his penis exposed. He also tied the student up, trapped him in a box, duct-taped a cardboard box around his head, and poured chalk dust inside.

Oyamada admitted on Friday that the interviews published in 1994 and 1995 quoted him correctly when he spoke about bullying these classmates “without any regrets.” On July 16, he announced on Twitter that he would be resigning from his role and that he “lacked consideration of many people when [he] accepted the offer to participate” in the committee.

“I am deeply sorry for how my words and actions hurt my classmates and their parents,” the 52-year-old wrote. “I regret and take responsibility being in a position where I hurt others rather than being a friend during my school years.”

Oyamada is the third person on the Tokyo Olympics’ organizing committee to step down in the last few months. Yoshiro Mori, former president of the Tokyo organizing committee, stepped down in March after sexist comments in which he suggested women talk too much during meetings. Shortly after, Hiroshi Sasaki, the original creative director of opening ceremonies, left after it became known he called Naomi Watanabe an “olympig” and suggested she “tumble from the sky decked out in pig ears” during the opening ceremony. As COVID cases continue to rise amongst participating athletes and personnel, the scandals only cause more concern for the pending Olympic Games.