SAN FRANCISCO — A conservative radio commentator is under fire for a remark about Asian American TV reporter Betty Yu.
According to SFGate, Steven Crowder, host of the political podcast and YouTube channel “Louder with Crowder,” made the comment on Oct. 20 during a segment on his show discussing the closure of San Francisco’s only In-N-Out location for failure to check customers’ vaccination status.
Crowder played a clip of a KPIX-TV report and reacted to Yu by saying, “Oh, that is an aggressively Asian face.”
Crowder, who had just returned after being suspended for one week by YouTube for hate speech targeting the transgender community, went on to discuss Yu with co-hosts Dave Landau and Gerald Morgan.
“By the way, the reason I say that is because usually with the reporters, they’re, like, they’re kind of like Americanized Asians,” Crowder said. “So I think it’s a good thing.”
Morgan: “Yeah, yeah, no. It’s culture.”
Crowder: “It’s a good thing. It’s full Asian.”
Landau: “I wish she would have kept her fan.”
Crowder: “Yeah, you know.”
KPIX said in a statement, “We stand in solidarity with Betty, an accomplished journalist and a valued member of our CBS family. These hateful and offensive remarks are hateful and destructive and reaffirm the importance of our work as journalists to shine a light on anti-Asian violence and hate speech when it occurs.”
The Asian American Journalists Association said in a statement: “The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), the AAJA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, the MediaWatch Committee and the Broadcast Advisory Council condemn racist comments by a YouTube host, using stereotypes to criticize the looks of a KPIX-TV reporter and Asian American reporter Betty Yu and to demean the Asian American community.
“These comments, which reinforce the ‘perpetual foreigner’ stereotype of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), are particularly egregious at a time when the Asian American community is experiencing increased violence and xenophobia. This incident highlights the constant otherizing of AAPIs, and the torrent of racism and sexism that AAPI journalists, journalists of color, women journalists, and women journalists of color face while simply doing our jobs.
“It is unacceptable for any journalist to be targeted by such racist and sexist comments. It is never appropriate to treat a journalist in this manner. We call on all employers in the journalism industry to pay attention to such hate aimed at our journalists, respond with empathy, swiftness and accountability, provide resources for journalists’ safety and well-being, and to support all journalists of color and women journalists in their news organizations.
“AAJA fully supports and stands by Betty Yu and the AAPI community. AAJA national leaders have met with KPIX-TV’s news director Mark Neerman and general manager Kevin Walsh to discuss the incident and offer our support.”
Several other Bay Area journalists defended Yu, a Bay Area native who has been with KPIX since 2013.
SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents on-air talent, issued this statement: “SAG-AFTRA condemns in the strongest terms the racist and xenophobic remarks made by commentator Steven Crowder targeting Bay Area television reporter Betty Yu in a video widely shared on social media. The revolting segment finds Crowder and his co-host laughing, as they ‘joke’ about Yu’s ethnicity.
“Online hate and dehumanizing rhetoric — in addition to being disgusting and hurtful in its own right — can have a ripple effect, encouraging physical attacks and emboldening like-minded racists. Last month, the FBI reported that hate crimes in America were at the highest level in 12 years, and Asian Americans were one of the most targeted groups.
“SAG-AFTRA expresses its support for Yu, an award-winning journalist for CBS station KPIX, and denounces the demeaning verbal attacks.
“Crowder and others with large followings who trade in hate and misinformation would do well to consider the effect of their words on people’s lives.
“SAG-AFTRA will continue to work to fight racism and promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the entertainment and media industry and in society at large.”