PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Public Record has apologized for ethnic slurs that appeared in one of its photo captions and fired the employee who was involved, the Asian American Journalists Association announced on Monday.
Under the headline “Squilla Hosted in Chinatown,” the caption read, “Enjoying Asian-American cuisine at fundraiser for City Councilman Mark Squilla are: Feng Chen, Xiao Ting, Guang Zhou Yiyao Rong, Hao Hello, Guang Zhou, Mark Squilla, Yiyao Zhao, Du Wei, Me Too, Chinky Winky and Dinky Doo.”
After receiving complaints from OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Philadelphia Chapter and other community organizations, the newspaper issued an apology on Sunday: “In our Aug. 21, 2014 issue an offensive slur was accidentally published in The Philadelphia Public Record. This shocking lapse of professional conduct occurred contrary to our editorial directives and in no way reflects the views of our staff or our organization.
“An internal investigation is under way to uncover the source of this intolerable abuse and to prevent it from ever happening again. We apologize wholeheartedly to the Asian American community and to all Philadelphians of this vibrant, diverse city who work together to make it the best place in America to live and to grow.”
AAJA National President Paul Cheung and Harry Mok of AAJA’s MediaWatch Committee said in a statement, “We at the Asian American Journalists Association are disappointed that editors at The Philadelphia Public Record would stoop to using ethnic slurs and tired caricatures of Asian-sounding names in a photo caption published Aug. 21.
“The caption in The Public Record adds to the long history of Asian Americans being subjected to slurs for their language and appearance.
“We accept the apology from Public Record Publisher Jimmy Tayoun Sr., and we applaud him for issuing a correction online and pledging to publish one in print.
“We’re also heartened by his taking personal responsibility: ‘In the end, I’m responsible because I didn’t read the cutlines like I should have,’ he told AAJA.
“While we at MediaWatch did not ask for disciplinary action, we acknowledge Tayoun’s extraordinary step in firing the person involved in the incident.
“We invite The Public Record to reach out to AAJA’s Philadelphia Chapter for further guidance. The chapter can be reached at email@example.com.
“MediaWatch, AAJA’s watchdog program for fair and accurate news coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, also stands ready to assist news organizations that have questions or concerns about covering our communities.”