Several Hollywood stars have not remained silent about the racist remarks that have been leveled against Asians and Asian Americans — particularly those of Chinese descent — amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Using dangerous rhetoric to incite racism isn’t what is needed right now,” actor Henry Golding tweeted on Friday. “The virus really doesn’t care where you come from, it is unbiased to all. Stand up for each other in these dark times, it’s the only way we are going to make it out the other end.”
Since the start of the outbreak, reports of racist and xenophobic attacks against Asians have emerged across the country and world. In Los Angeles, a Thai American woman told CNN in February that she was on the metro when a man began ranting to her that “every” disease has come from China “because they’re f—ing disgusting.” “Mulan” actor Tzi Ma, who helped launch the #WashTheHate social media campaign, recently recounted an encounter at a Pasadena Whole Foods when a man driving by in a car rolled down his window, told the actor he should be “quarantined,” and drove off.
“I just went numb. You know how you go cold? You just go cold and numb,” Ma, who is Chinese American, told Variety. “This is emotional. This affected my psyche.”
Officials from the World Health Organization have asked the public to refrain from using terminology that associates the coronavirus with a certain ethnicity or race, such as by saying the “Chinese virus” — a phrase that the president, in particular, has continually used.
“The pandemic of influenza in 2009 originated in North America and we didn’t call it the North American flu, so it’s very important that we have the same approach when it comes to other viruses,” Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a press conference on Wednesday. “This is a time for solidarity, this is a time for facts, this is a time to move forward together, to fight this virus together. There is no blame in this.”
Lana Condor, the star of Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” also shared a message with her followers on Wednesday that seemed to sharply criticize Trump.
“You have no idea the ramifications your racist words & actions have on the Asian American community,” Condor wrote. “How dare you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You call yourself a leader? You know what leaders do? They LEAD by setting good examples and ACTION. Something we’ve yet to see you do.”
“Please. Be better. So we aren’t afraid to leave our house in fear someone will verbally or physically abuse us because of your xenophobia,” she continued.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: star Chloe Bennet echoed Condor’s comments. “I can’t tell you how many calls/texts I’ve received from family members, all of Asian descent, speaking to me about their extreme levels of anxiety, shame and fear,” the actress wrote on Instagram. “People are being verbally and physically attacked and Asian owned businesses boycotted. And this xenophobic rhetoric is the direct cause.”
And earlier this week, actress Joey King also criticized the use of the phrase “Chinese virus.”
“This virus is not an excuse for racism. You do not get to call it a ‘Chinese virus’ or a ‘China virus,'” King wrote on Twitter. “That’s verbal abuse to Chinese people across the globe. It is called Covid-19 or coronavirus. Those are the medical terms for this virus. And that’s all we should be calling it.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Dae Kim, who announced on Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, said it was “heartbreaking” to comment on all the “blatant acts of racism against Asian people during this outbreak.”
“It should go without saying how abhorrent and subhuman this behavior is. Unfortunately in this political climate, it still requires mentioning,” he wrote on Twitter. “Though we keep doing our best to demonize each other, the #coronavirus doesn’t care what race, gender, religion or sexuality we are. Ironically, it knows better than we do a lesson I wish we could all learn, once and for all: that we are all human. We are all one.”