Director claps back at company accused of cultural appropriation

A director and screenwriter took subtle shots at a Dallas company that was recently accused of cultural appropriation after trying to “reinvent” the game of mahjong. On Jan. 5, Yulin Kuang, who created the short-lived series 'I Ship It,' took to Twitter to share a 12-second video of her grandma’s high-tech mahjong table. In sharing the video, Kuang simply tweeted, “Cleansing the timeline with my grandma’s mahjong table”. The tweet, which has been liked more than 149,000 times, appears to be in response to the backlash a Dallas company received. Launched by Kate LaGere, Annie O’Grady and Bianca Watson in November 2020, The Mahjong Line initially claimed on its website that it aimed “to bring Mahjong to the stylish masses”. But news of the products did not sit well with many members of the Asian American community, who accused the business’ founders of culturally appropriating a game from China that dates back to the Qing dynasty. “My culture is one of the oldest civilizations in the world,” one Twitter user wrote. “My culture not some cheap coloring book that can be filled-in and be ‘made pretty’ by the standards of privileged teenyboppers.”. The Mahjong Line has since acknowledged the criticism, offering an apology on its Instagram account. “While our intent is to inspire and engage with a generation of American mahjong players, we recognize our failure to pay proper homage to the game’s Chinese heritage,” part of the company’s statement read.