In the middle of Season 2, Episode 3 of The Pioneer Woman, star Ree Drummond pulls a batch of “Asian hot wings” out of the oven, but her kith and kin wrinkle their noses at the sight of this game-day snack. One member of her crew asks, “Where are the real wings?” Another dude says, “I don’t trust ‘em.” Drummond laughs and says, “I’m just kidding guys, I wouldn’t do that to you.” Then she pulls a tray of good ole American Buffalo wings out of the oven, much to the delight of her boys, one of whom says, “Now those are some wings.”
The people behind Thick Dumpling Skin, a site and podcast dedicated to issues in the Asian-American community, recently caught this exchange and shared a clip of it on Twitter:
The editors also posted the clip on the Thick Dumpling Skin homepage with a message that reads, in part: “Why must we watch non-Asian cooks who can’t pronounce ‘Sriracha’ and don’t have a chopstick drawer show us how to make our own dishes? And how come, when they do, we have to watch as their entire family mocks it — like in this episode of The Pioneer Woman?"
And now many, many people are tweeting their frustrations with the Food Network for airing this scene on TV:
the "JUST KIDDING GUYS HERE'S THE WHITE PEOPLE CHICKEN WINGS" at the end is really something https://t.co/ZD9jOQBFSK— Alison Mah (@alisonmah) March 7, 2017
The offensive passage of this episode is more than just some off-the-cuff racist comments from Drummond’s guests: Earlier in the episode, the Food Network Star explains that her husband loves classic Buffalo wings and she wants to pull a prank on him by serving an Asian iteration. “I like to mess with my spouse, I can’t help it,” she says. The offensive conceit — that he and his college buddies would be revolted by Asian wings — was clearly written into the show before it was even filmed.
A smart and respectful move would be for the Food Network to take this five-year-old episode out of rotation. Eater has reached out to the Food Network for comment. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.