Music | July 19, 2021 1:24 pm

Tokyo Olympics Composer Keigo Oyamada Resigns in Latest Blow to Summer Games

Oyamada, who performs under the name Cornelius, stepped down after a history of bullying came to light

Composer and musician Keigo Oyamada, also known as Cornelius. He resigned from his post at the Tokyo Olympics due to past bullying.
Keigo Oyamada poses during a photocall for the Stella McCartney Spring 2015 Presentation at Roppongi Hills on July 17, 2014 in Tokyo.
Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

It’s been a rough year for the Tokyo Olympics, and its delay for a year due to the pandemic was only the beginning. Some top athletes are sitting the Games out this time around; questions also hover about the process for selecting athletes to compete. And that doesn’t even cover the more immediate threat of COVID-19 cases popping up in the Olympic Village ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday, or the larger existential questions that were raised about the Olympics themselves.

The latest controversy surrounding the Tokyo Olympics has nothing to do with the pandemic, nor does it involve any of the athletes who might be competing. Instead, it has to do with Keigo Oyamada, a musician and composer who was involved with the opening ceremony for this year’s Games. Some may know Oyamada through his work under the name Cornelius, which includes music released on Beastie Boys label Grand Royal.

Oyamada has resigned from his post at this year’s Olympics, the Associated Press reported. Why? According to the article, it has to do with bullying he conducted when he was a child. If that seems harsh, it appears this is less a case of a man in his 50s being held accountable for his actions as a child and more one where he’s being criticized for his less-than-remorseful reaction to those deeds as an adult.

The article notes that “[r]eports of his past abuse of classmates, including those with disabilities, surfaced online recently.” It also notes allegations that Oyamada “still bragged about it years later.” An article at The Washington Post offers some clarification — namely, that Oyamada had “boasted about the abuse in detail in Japanese magazine interviews he gave in the 1990s.”

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart, of course to the classmate himself whom I have hurt, and all my fans, friends and other people involved,” Oyamada said in a statement.