Margaret Cho responded Monday to complaints that her portrayal of a North Korean army general/entertainment journalist on Sunday's Golden Globe Awards telecast was racist.
"I'm of mixed North/South Korean descent -- you imprison, starve and brainwash my people you get made fun of by me #hatersgonhate #FreeSpeech," tweeted the comedian, whose 1994-95 ABC series "All-American Girl" was the first network sitcom with a predominantly Asian cast. "I'm not playing the race card. I'm playing the rice card. #hatersgonwait #winnersgonpun," she added jokingly.
"I do impressions of my family and my work all the time, and this is just another example of that," Cho, 46, later told BuzzFeed.com. "I am from this culture. I am from this tribe. And so I'm able to comment on it."
The recurring comedy routine began with co-host Tina Fey introducing the purported newest member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which sponsors the Golden Globes.
Cho stood up from her table in the audience, attired in full military regalia and affecting an autocratic mien to play a humorless North Korean military officer who writes for the fictional Movies Wow! magazine. An NBC representative confirmed the character's name as Cho Young-Ja.
"If it's Asian-Americans making fun of Asians, we're claiming our own voice, we're claiming our heritage," Cho told BuzzFeed. "We're claiming all of the aspects of our own culture, and we're allowed to. Even though it may get us put in a labor camp."
Cho received a 2012 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il on Fey's sitcom "30 Rock."