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Celebrities Speak Out as Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Grow

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  • Stars like Olivia Munn are calling for change and justice as anti-Asian hate crimes continue to rise.
  • “The racist, verbal, and physical assaults have left my community fearful to step outside,” she wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “These hate crimes have spiked since Covid and continue to increase even though we ask for help, even though we ask our fellow Americans to be outraged for us, even though we ask for more mainstream media coverage.”
  • Fellow actors Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Wu, and Gemma Chan have also been vocal about the rise in attacks against Asian Americans. 
  • Kim and Wu previously offered a $25,000 reward for information on a suspect who attacked a 91-year-old man in Oakland, Ca. A suspect in the case was arrested Monday.

Anti-Asian Hate Crimes On The Rise

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a startling rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, prompting many celebrities to increase their calls for change and justice. 

The uptick in attacks started back in March of 2020 when the pandemic became the focus of national attention. In just the three month span between March and June, more than 2,100 hate incidents were reported to The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. In September, the Queens Chronicle reported anti-Asian hate crimes were up 1,900% in New York City. In October, a study found that four out of 10 young Asian Americans said anti-Asian hate had personally impacted them “tremendously.” One in four said they have been scared for themselves and their families. 

Many cite the blame the public has placed on China for the pandemic as the reason for the ongoing hate. Former president Donald Trump and other high profile people played into that narrative by calling COVID-19 the “China virus.”

Olivia Munn Speaks Out

Olivia Munn is one of many actors drawing attention to the troubling trend. 

“Over the past few days I’ve found myself at a loss for words at the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes,” she wrote on Instagram on Tuesday.

“The racist, verbal, and physical assaults have left my community fearful to step outside. These hate crimes have spiked since Covid and continue to increase even though we ask for help, even though we ask our fellow Americans to be outraged for us, even though we ask for more mainstream media coverage,” she continued.

She brought up a handful of disturbing incidents, including an attack on a 91-year-old man in Oakland, the recent murder of an 84-year-old man in San Francisco, and the assaults a woman in San Jose and a man who had his face slashed in Manhattan.

“To simply exist as a minority in this country is seen as a protest to some,” Munn continued. “We need help amplifying the outrage. We need help to feel safe in our country. We need help to be safe in our country.”

Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu Offer Reward

Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu have been vocal about these attacks as well. On Friday, the two offered a $25,000 reward for information on the attack against the 91-year-old man in Oakland. 

“The number of hate crimes against Asian Americans continues to skyrocket, despite our repeated pleas for help,” Kim wrote on Instagram. “The crimes are too often ignored and even excused.”

“We must do more to help the literally thousands of Americans who have suffered at the hands of this absolutely senseless violence,” Wu added in a similar post. “We must take a stand and say, ‘no more.’ Please help us bring this criminal to justice.”

Actress Gemma Chan also shared footage of the attack and called for people to pay attention to the surge of hate both in the U.S. and in the U.K. 

“The community is in pain from these completely unprovoked attacks but the crimes are too often ignored and underreported,” she wrote. 

A suspect was arrested and charged for allegedly attacking the man in Oakland. He was also charged for attacks against two other people in the area.

See what others are saying: (HuffPost) (Glamour) (Washington Post)

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Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”

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“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.


Actress Pushed at Protest

After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights. 

Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”

Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.

Sweetin Addresses Incident

Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over. 

“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”

Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.

“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.

According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter. 

“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him

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“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.


Theater Named Announced

Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title. 

The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. 

A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”

Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.

The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”

Chappelle Defends Controversial Special 

According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students. 

“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.

Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda. 

“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said. 

“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special. 

According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)

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Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”

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The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it. 


Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene

“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film. 

“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion. 

“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued. 

Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”

Evans argued those opinions are outdated. 

“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”

“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.

Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen

According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife. 

Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.

The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.” 

Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard. 

“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”

See what others are saying (Reuters) (Variety) (IndieWire)

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