Kate Gosselin explains her slanted-eye photo: ‘This was a happy memory of mine’

“But I married an Asian guy and had his Asian babies” is the new “But I have a black friend!” As we discussed yesterday, a photo of Kate Gosselin was mysteriously released on Twitter. In the photo (I’ve included it again as the header image), Kate seems to be wearing some kind of Asian-y headpiece and making “slanted eyes” at the camera. So, obviously, people were like, “Ugh. Racist. And dumb.” Well, Kate Gosselin wanted to correct the record! She wrote a blog post about it on her website:

Clarification on my personal photo that was stored on our “home computer,” that recently surfaced and was released to the public, without my permission:

This was a happy memory of mine. It was a happy time for me and Jon, smiling and “goofing off” together. Jon and I were opening fan mail together one afternoon — which often filled the garage of our Elizabethtown home — and when we opened this plastic Asian dress up wig sent from a caring fan, we smiled, each taking turns posing in it and snapping photos (on my phone) of each other. Naturally, I “slanted” my eyes to show him my best Asian impression, which made him smile.

Evidently, a fan sent it for me to wear so that I too could “be Asian” like the rest of my family. At that time, a common topic of our show was “everybody’s Asian” — except for mommy, so a thoughtful fan figured she’d help me look Asian too! It’s normal to talk about and even “exaggerate” the feature differences between family members of a biracial family as they are noticed by curious growing children within the family. These types of discoveries and at home discussions are a normal part of being a loving accepting biracial family and it does not make any of us prejudice!

I married an Asian. I have eight biracial children therefore I’m quite certain that I’m the last person that could be called a racist. I learned to cook Korean foods from Jon’s mom and grandmother. I couldn’t be more proud of my eight beautiful children and wouldn’t change anything about them or their heritage. They are absolutely perfect just the way they are.

God loves each of us equally. We are each created perfectly in His eyes. In this family, we don’t see color or preference, we see qualities and hearts. Those photos taken on my phone were later uploaded to be saved on the home computer…..the same source of other private information that was taken and has since been made public, without my consent.

The blaring fact that remains is that a personal photo that left a warm and happy memory, was taken and misused without my permission and opportunistically turned into something that it never was intended to be.

[From Kate Gosselin’s website]

I could do without the parts where she’s going on and on about how making this gesture is such a “warm memory” for her, but otherwise… I don’t know. I’m mixed race, and I can kind of see how this would be an “inside joke” within a mixed race family. I think it’s always a stupid idea to take photos of yourself making this kind of stupid gesture – I mean, even if Paula Deen has a black friend, does that mean she should put on blackface and take photos of herself that way just because she and her friend have an “inside joke” about it? No. And I would actually like to hear what Jon thought of Kate’s “joke”.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Twitter.

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72 Responses to “Kate Gosselin explains her slanted-eye photo: ‘This was a happy memory of mine’”

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  1. mzizkrizten says:

    I think her explanation is plausible.

  2. celebrities-suck says:

    wasnt there a time when celebrities had to be beautiful and talented? and if they had not talent then incredible beauty could make up for it. this woman has no talent or beauty. find me her agent and sign me up, cos if she can make it anyone can.

  3. Sue says:

    I saw this on another site and they had a picture of Jon with the headpiece on also side by side with the above picture. So I feel it was a happy memory for her of happier times in her life.

  4. SmokeyBlues says:

    My husband is Hispanic and I can tell you, we play fast and loose with racism at home because it cracks us up. We call each other names and just laugh so hard about it, he riffs on my Irish heritage as well. If any of this was seen by the public or taken out of context people would be horrified by us. I can’t believe I am defending this mess but I don’t think that making a joke about race with your interracial spouse means you are a racist. I know I’m not one.

    • GiGi says:

      Ugh! I reeeallllyyy want her to be in the wrong here… but I’m biracial and we joke around in our family all the time, too. And, yes – in ways that would horrify outsiders. Can it just be ok for us to do it and wrong for Kate Gosselin because, well… she’s Kate Gosselin???

    • hadleyb says:

      Same. I think it’s getting utterly ridiculous now. She has kids, she can’t make a joke with her kids?

      I do the same jokes in my family and also with my husband, we go back and forth.

      Sounds like everyone is getting offended over everything, what do you guys laugh about? Lighten up.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Yeah, I agree with you here. I’m Middle Eastern and my boyfriend is from England and we make jokes about one another all the time. As much as I dislike Kate Gosselin I’m not going to slam her for this. Is it in the best of taste? No. Do I think it was meant as a racial slur? No.

    • Launicaangelina says:

      Same thing here. I’m Mexican-American and he biracial. Plus, both sides of our families are pretty mixed up. We make many crazy jokes between us but outsiders would look horrified.

    • teehee says:

      I agree— racism is a lot mroe than a word or gesture. Its the entire mentality and practices that go along behind it— ie not respecting a whole group of people, mistreating them, not wanting them to have a good life and share the benefits that you have, thinking they are no good, pose a threat, are competition, etc.
      Obviously many thigns are now associated with actual racist thinking and behaviors, and they should just be avoided regardless. I can’t imagine any situation ever in my life where I would be inclined to make ‘asian eyes’, for example, because it touches a sore spot no matter how “non racist” I may think I am, I would be aware of how others would perceive it and would simply never do it.
      So thats the only thing I think is wrong here— she seems sincere, but was just not paying attention to the enitre extreme sensitivity that has developed in teh last 20 years to things like this.

  5. V4Real says:

    Don’t like this woman at all but sometimes people tend to throw that word racism around too freely.

    Was it racist when Tyra Banks had all the white and black girls dress up like Geisha’s (might have spelled that wrong) on an episode of ANTM. She even had the make-up artist play up their eyes with make-up to achieve the Asian features.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I would have liked her explanation better if she had said she could understand how that gesture could be hurtful and offensive to people, instead of, “naturally, I slanted my eyes”. Normally, I could accept that it was made without malicious intent. I just keep remembering the stories about her beating her two year old with a wooden spoon for some small infraction, and it’s hard to see her as anything but malicious.

      • Ai says:

        I agree totally with Good’s comment above.

      • Pinky says:

        Yup. @Good. The “slanted eyes” part is what sticks in my craw. What’s “natural” about that? Why didn’t she say, “Taken out of context, I can see how hurtful this gesture could be to members of the population for whom I in reality have the utmost respect. But it was a private joke between loving partners and was not meant for public consumption. This is the price of notoriety–someone always looking for ways to taint your “brand” or turn you into some kind of monster when, in fact, you’re someone who embraces all cultures.” Once she says that, then I’ll give her a very loose, suspicious pass.

      • lana says:

        could someone explain me why that gesture can be “hurtful and offensive”? I mean, asians DO have slanted eyes… so what? Its not a disability or smth, for God sake! They should be proud of their eyes!)I understand the n-word is offensive due to relation to slavery, but i dont the slanted eyes problem… it might be dumb, but why would it be hurtful!

      • SE says:

        “I would have liked her explanation better if she had said she could understand how that gesture could be hurtful and offensive to people, instead of, “naturally, I slanted my eyes”.”

        Time and again, Kate has shown herself as completely lacking the ability to empathize, so the fact that she didn’t respond in this way doesn’t surprise me at all.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @ lana, very briefly, the gesture is possibly offensive and hurtful to people because it has been used since the 1850s to ridicule and demean people of Asian descent, who came to this country to work and were greeted with intense hostility and sometimes violence, with strict laws about where they could live, eat and work, who were not allowed to bring women over for years for fear they would reproduce and other atrocities. Historically, and generally speaking, people in America don’t make the gesture to celebrate the beauty of almond shaped eyes. They make it to point out a difference in an unkind way.

  6. booger says:

    Is it weird I’m surprised at how nice she looks in the pic? Especially next to ones of her bottle blonde and covered with self tanner.

  7. Dawn says:

    Kate is totally irrelvent and we need to leave lt like that. I said it yesterday that this woman is a lot of things but racist against Asians is not among them. She is a moron, a bad mother and was a bad wife. The more interesting thing to me is if she didn’t release the picture than who did?

    • Ok says:

      Dawn– I made a similar comment below. Who else would be releasing that photo.

      I hate to say it but I hope she does get some other tv show or something. I know she upsets people……. Well she upsets people because she is selfish and insufferable and unreasonable.

      But she must be so broke now. I have been broke before and I would not wish that on anyone.

      I can’t imagine being broke with 8 kids to support.

  8. Sabrine says:

    Nothing here, just some disgruntled individual trying to bring her down. Totally ridiculous.

  9. yuck says:

    Kate, Jon is an AMERICAN who happens to have a Korean mother. You did not marry an Asian. You might say he is of Asian descent, but I’m sure that distinction is entirely too fine for you. And are your kids really “biracial” when they are one-quarter Korean? I don’t think so. You are the only one to whom these things are important because you think they make YOU “unique” (8 brunette children with their now-platinum blonde Mommy). Unfortunately, they don’t. Get your “blaring” facts straight.

    • teehee says:

      Her children ‘count’ as biracial to me, especially given their appearance- no one would lie and say they dont look ‘mixed’. Its like the one drop argument- how much of a race do you need in you to be included? or excluded?
      His citizenship is different from his race, too– he is an american citizen but his mother korean- therefore—- what is he? No longer carrying korean genes?

      • pretty says:

        i think it is all about how you look.

        like Alexa Chung, this woman’s parents are white and the other spouse 3/4 chinese(From wikiidepia) and she doesn’t even slightly look ‘mixed’ to me.

        a few of her childrens can pass as 1000% korean despite being 75% white. not even mixed.

      • littlestar says:

        I agree teehee, genetics and citizenship are two completely different things. To say someone isn’t of Korean decent just because they don’t look like it, is completely ridiculous.

    • MrsNix says:

      Honestly…I find everything you just wrote appallingly racist. Seriously. What you just wrote here is a thousand times worse than a picture taken between a mother and kids making light of their physical differences. You might want to step down off of the racial purity soapbox a little bit.

    • Leen says:

      Your post is, no offense, racist. I come from a mixed cultural family. My mom’s side is German, I have German citizenship and I understand German. I’m also Arab on my dad’s side, and I grew up in the Middle East. I don’t ‘look’ German (certainly not my mom’s side since they are all natural blondes, skin whiter than milk, and strong tall built), but to say that I am not German descent is racist based on my appearance.

      people decide for themselves what their identity is. It’s not up to you to say we are not ‘Asian, black, Korean, German, etc’.

      Similarily, it is equally racist to say I am not Arab because my citizenship/nationality is German.

  10. teehee says:

    I also didnt see what the hooplah was, it seems everythign is forbidden today which even slightly appears similar to something offensive, without any further look beyond just the surface.
    Certain words are forbidden entirely too, but what is that besides just superficial ignorance? Banishing a gesture or a word doesnt stop the thoughts behind them; it hasnt improved the situation for minorities or foreigners, its just made oppressive people look less guilty. Racism is a lot mroe complicated and making certain things taboo wont fix it.
    In this case its a gesture without the thoughts behind it so its cant automatically be called racism. I take it that this woman is evil and hateful, so its not above her to hate even the race that her children are, but- I seriously wish people would stop crying racism and offense about everything.
    But long story short: dont ever, for the love of god, get photographed or recorded speaking of anything race related- people will misunderstand it instantly without giving it a second thought.

  11. Str8Shooter says:

    Sorry, but while I totally LOATHE this woman, I don’t think she was being racist at all. She was joking around, as we have ALL done from time time to time…and it was a private joke between her and her husband who happens to be from Asia.

    That being said, I am ROFLMAO at her comment about how their ‘fanmail’ filled up their whole garage!

    Really?? People send untalented, unattractive, annoying boring everyday people FANMAIL??? And that volume of it?

  12. Andrea says:

    I will only say…too much tanner, too much bronzer, WAY too dark foundation.

  13. Baskingshark says:

    There are already so very, very many valid reasons to hate Kate Gosselin.

    We do not need to manufacture new ones.

  14. Ai says:

    I can accept that she was goofing off and playing around in the privacy of her home. I think she is still ignorant to think that ‘to be Asian’ I just need to make ‘slant eyes’. I think many of you still miss the point that making ‘slant eyes’ is an offensive gesture with roots in mocking Asians. It’s alarming to me that many ppl just say it’s no big deal; it is easy to shrug off problems that don’t affect you. As an Asian person that was taunted with ‘slanted eyes’ just because of my race growing up in the US, it is an issue to me. Any one can dress in Asian style but when you start giving yourself ‘Asian characteristics base on stereotypes’ then yes, I consider it a form of racism. I just keep seeing the landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany’s….

    • GiGi says:

      I agree with you – even though I’m biracial and have a very mixed family and we joke around a lot about race – I would NEVER make “slant-eyes” at all let alone in front of my Japanese father-in-law. And the fact that she says, “Naturally, I made slant-eyes” is pretty gross.

      Like we joke around with the African American people in our family aobut stereotypes, etc. but no one is breaking out the “N word” – there are limits.

  15. Chrissy says:

    I had no idea who Kate Gosselin was but WOAH, SEXTUPLETS!!!! The dominance of Jon’s mother’s genes is quite fascinating. Plus the fact that she had twins beforehand etc. Scientifically speaking, this is titillating!

    • GiGi says:

      She had fertility treatments and IVF – statistically speaking it would have been odd for her not to carry multiples. She refused to reduce the number of embryos in utero and, in fact, there were originally 7 but one died at some point during gestation.

  16. Inconceivable! says:

    “Naturally I slanted my eyes”. Huh?! That is what defines Asians to her? I wonder if her children are mocked with slanted eye gestures if she’d find it as funny? It’s such a warm memory to her but her children may not appreciate the mocking gestures.

  17. serena says:

    Even though normally I wouldn’t defend her, cause she’s a dumb famewhore etc, this time I think the photo meant no offense.

  18. Weedarkone says:

    I’m offended by her misuse of the word “blaring”. I think she means glaring. Ugh.

  19. KittyCal says:

    It is always disturbing to me that my name is Cate (at least spelled differently…) and my boyfriend is Asian (100% Filipino rather than half-Korean). I promise you I would never in a million years do that sort of thing. I have a lot more sense than that.

  20. Mia says:

    She was fooling around with her ASIAN husband. It may be in questionable taste to some but frankly i don’t see the big deal. As somebody of Irish descent, i see people making fun/joking about leprechauns,alcoholism,red hair and freckles and all the rest ALL the time. Am i allowed to call racism?

    You pick and choose your battles and sometimes it’s just better to laugh along and not take it so personally. There is REAL racism going on in the world. Let’s highlight that instead!

    • tracking says:

      Well said! Maybe a joke in questionable taste, but if her Asian husband did not object, why should we? Unlike most celebrity ‘apologies’ (side eye Paula), her explanation is both reasonable and sincere.

    • Kristine says:

      Exactly. I am a ginger and my friends and SO always tease me about it. I am not offended in the least. I know they don’t mean it and are just having a laugh. It’s really not a big deal. There are important racial issues going on in the world today but this isn’t one of them.

  21. TOPgirl says:

    This type of humor was done in the comfort of her own home. I know many many many people do this too!!!! Don’t say you don’t! Especially if you are biracial and sometimes you don’t even have to be….there are tons of stereotypes out there. But as long as you don’t flaunt it in my face…keep it to your damn self behind closed door.

  22. poppy says:

    just because you make comments or gestures in private do not mean they stay private.
    right or wrong, people interpret your actions and words according to what they think, not necessarily by your intent.

    the person that specifically created an account to call her out on this seemed to take it as racially insensitive, as do many people that saw it.
    some folks get what her intentions were, some don’t, and some don’t care what her intentions were, they find it offensive.

    what’s that saying? if you can’t say or do something in front of everyone, you should reconsider.
    it’s like people wanting to keep some people from seeing their facebook postings but not others. if it isn’t appropriate for grandma/boss/whomever you have a secret double life from that you don’t want knowing the truth about yourself, probably not appropriate, period.

    • trillian says:

      >if you can’t say or do something in front of everyone, you should reconsider.<

      Oh come on. It is absolutely normal to have a somewhat different private persona. I definitely do things by myself or in front of family/close friends that I would never do or say in public. That has to do with trust and intimacy and knowing each other well. No one has to groom their private life to fit the maximum of political correctness.
      Disclaimer: Of course that doesn't mean it's okay to be a racist in private but this was clearly a joke among the people who "got it".

  23. TeeHee says:

    Obviously it’s offensive if she had to come out and clarify it. I doubt she meant it offensively. It was something shared between her and her husband. I understand that. But it doesn’t mean her actions aren’t ignorant.

    “Naturally, I “slanted” my eyes to show him my best Asian impression.”

    Asian == Slanted eyes. This is perpetuating a stereotype.

    Her children have Asian eyes too. What do you think her children would think if their friends “slanted” their eyes when they were fooling around trying to do an impression them.

    And tbh, I find the reaction between this and Paula Deen quite disconcerting.

  24. Dommy Dearest says:

    Don’t care, still a racist gesture. She wouldn’t need to defend herself if she knew it wasn’t offensive. What about when the other celebrities were doing the same face goofing off with their friends? I’m sure those were fun happy times for them and yet they had to issue direct apologies.

    But. I’m willing to settle that instead of her being a racist, she’s just a full fledged cunt.

    • Kristine says:

      She only has to defend herself because people are overly sensitive right now when it comes to some race/sexist issues. They cry racism where there simply is none. She is just trying to hush up those people.

      • Dommy Dearest says:

        It isn’t right now, it’s been like that for a while. People have been overly sensitive about things since the bullying pandemic. I’m saying why give her a pass when everyone else who didn’t mean to be racist or sexist got blamed for being racist or sexist. It’s not fair to exclude her just because her explanation makes it seem all warm and fuzzy.

        Pretty sure if someone who was in an interracial relationship said something the wrong way they’d have people jumping down their throats left and right. Even if it was said or done during a ‘warm’ part of their relationship.

        Personally I don’t care what this woman does in her free time but to give her a pass is just ridiculous.

  25. Anastasia says:

    She’s still irrelevant. I have to wonder why she’s suddenly popping back up now, long after she’s disappeared into obscurity.

  26. Ok says:

    What caring fan would have sent plastic hair to them in the mail???

    And who would be releasing this photo without her permission??

    Kate needs a job offer badly now. I wonder how she is paying her bills these days

  27. KittyKat says:

    Meh. I think it would be one thing if she held negative, stereotypical views about Asian people and people with Asian heritage. Would we be getting upset if her ex-husband was wearing a blonde wig and cranking his eyelids open to make himself look like he was of Western European descent? Probably not. Now I understand the historical context of the “slant eyed” gesture. But I really don’t think she meant anything negative by this at all.

    I have a mixed “everything” family (Asian, Western European, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, etc). We tease each other all of the time about various things. One cousin with Asian heritage gets teased whenever we are driving somewhere. He can drive just fine and usually does drive since he has the larger vehicle. I think it’s really just more of a joke about the stereotype because none of us are actually like the stereotype. The Jewish members aren’t cheap nor do they run the world, the Latino members don’t actually have wet backs, the Mormon’s don’t have three wives and 16 children, etc. I get teased about being short, stocky and having red chubby cheeks as I am of Irish descent. I laugh because it’s funny (I really do look like a leprechaun if I wear too much Kelly green) and I know the teasing is because they love me and we have a great relationship.

    While I’m not a big fan of Kate Gosselin, I can’t imagine that she meant anything by this at all. Most people who have negative opinions about a particular group of people don’t tend to marry one of those people and give birth to a litter of their children.

  28. Daniel says:

    I personally don’ like the image she projects in the media BUT, I do think that this is a bit of a “non-issue”, it’s a private photo and I don’t think she meant anything by it. Time to move on.

  29. Jayna says:

    This was done in the privacy of her home with her Asian husband joking. Nobody’s business.

  30. MrsNix says:

    Honestly, I think people need to calm down on this one. It was harmless and certainly not racist. It’s reaching to say that it was. I cannot STAND this woman, but this is baseless.

  31. Meggin says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Kate’s normally but she definitely doesn’t seem racist; have to give her that. There’s a picture of Jon wearing the same head piece joking around with her.

  32. Meggin says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Kate’s normally but she definitely doesn’t seem racist have to give her that. There’s a picture of Jon wearing the same head piece joking around with her.

  33. ParisPucker says:

    oh please, this is hardly newsworthy! Am a half-Jew and half latina and I tell you, there’s a lot of fun to be had when you’re talking about yourself and messing about with friends/lovers/hubbies…

    She’s trash for a lot of reasons, but not this.

  34. guest says:

    It’s weird how some of the celebitches here react to racism against Asians. It’s always, “Oh Miley didn’t mean it” or “Jade Duell is ugly because she doesn’t look like Kate Hudson.”