Blackface is a racist tradition that often becomes a topic of conversations surrounding college parties and Halloween. But on New Year’s Eve, a Brooklyn-born writer living in Japan called out one Japanese comedy team on Twitter for using blackface in its skits. “#Blackness is not a punchline nor a prop,” Baye McNeil wrote. “Need jokes? Get better writers.”

During a New Year’s Eve special, the Downtown comedy troupe used blackface on national TV as Masatoshi Hamada  impersonated the character Axel Foley, who Eddie Murphy played in the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop. McNeil not only blames Hamada for the poor decision, but writers of the show for helping execute a racist trope.

Some agreed with McNeil’s reaction, while others tried to make light of the situation, arguing that there's not the same history of racial conflict in Japan as there is in the United States, according to Blavity. Of course that isn’t true. Historically, blackface has been a part of Japanese culture since the mid 1800s, and persists in major facets of Japanese entertainment today, including music and television. 

In an interview with HuffPost Japan, McNeil pointed out how blackface perpetuates negative stereotypes dangerous for him and other black residents of Japan. “Blackness is being treated as a tool for comedy, for laughs, and that impacts how I’m perceived and treated on a daily basis here,” he said. “Do you think these comedians care about that? I doubt it. They should. The quality of my life is affected by them.”