Westworld Actor Leonardo Nam: Calling it ‘Chinese virus’ encourages hatred, racism

One of the most awful aspects of the pandemic is the uptick in attacks on Asian Americans. Trump is responsible for fanning the flames of these racist hate crimes, because he refers to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as “the Chinese virus.” People were already angry about it when a photo of Trump’s notes for his Thursday briefing started circulating online. The word “Corona” had been crossed out and “Chinese” was written above it. Trump claimed it wasn’t racist to call this, saying it started because a Chinese foreign ministry official pushed a conspiracy theory that the U.S. military purposefully brought the virus to China. In fact, in 2015, WHO denounced naming viruses by location and issued guidelines about how to name emerging human diseases, noting that one of the goals is “to minimize unnecessary negative effects on nations, economies and people.”

Trump has since said that he will stop using the descriptor, and on Monday tweeted support of the Asian American community, but it’s too little, too late. There have been an increase in racist attacks on Asian Americans and Asians around the world.

Celebrities are among those who are decrying the attacks and reminding people that the spread of the novel coronavirus isn’t the fault of any group of people and that it can infect anyone. Daniel Dae Kim spoke out against the violence against Asian Americans when revealing his coronavirus diagnosis.

Leonardo Nam, who has roles in Westworld and the MacGyver reboot and will be in the upcoming Room 104, posted on Instagram telling people to call the virus what it is, “a global pandemic,” and to support the Asian community.

Asians around the world are experiencing racism in the wake of the Coronavirus, and hatred and violence are only encouraged when people in positions of power refer to it as the “Chinese Virus.” Let’s call it what it is, a global pandemic, and let’s unify in support of our @phenomenal Asian community when others in leadership are unwilling to do so. Be kind, wash your hands, and stay strong.

[From Instagram via People]

Awkwafina posted that she has been sadded by the rhetoric and worried about people who are vulnerable:

Have been away working for the past few months in all of this devastation, and wanted to make double sure I was OK to travel before coming back home to the US.
Haven’t said much about this whole thing because mostly I am just saddened by it. I worry for those who are most at risk for serious illness, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. I am saddened by the rhetoric that has come out of this, and the cruelty that came as a result. I hope that while we self isolate and socially distance to stay safe, we also stay sane and calm. Wishing everyone a sense of peace during this batshit crazy time – I will be locking myself up for the next 2 weeks rewatching the Tiger King. Love you all ❤️❤️❤️

[From Instagram via Just Jared]

I’ve seen posts on Facebook from Asian-American friends who say they’re afraid to leave their homes to go to the store because they worry that they’ll be attacked. Julian Borger, the Guardian‘s world affairs editor, tweeted on Wednesday:

Every time I think that we’ve hit a particular “bottom” with the Trump administration, it falls out. I am not surprised. I am disgusted and enraged that this is even a discussion that needs to be had: that grown adults in positions of power don’t seem to care about being racist in their description of the coronavirus, and about the hate crimes that they are encouraging. New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched a hotline for people to report hate crimes and biased incidents against Asian Americans in the state. I’m glad that she’s taken that stand, but I hate that it’s necessary. I hope that other attorneys general do the same, and I hope that people continue to call out Trump’s racism and the racism of others. Trump seems to be incapable of feeling shame (probably because he’s incapable of feeling empathy), but others might rethink both their own prejudices and start to consider the dangerous impact that their words can have on others.

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32 Responses to “Westworld Actor Leonardo Nam: Calling it ‘Chinese virus’ encourages hatred, racism”

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  1. OriginalLala says:

    The G7 story boils my blood -we are totally screwed if our “leaders” are acting like petulant, racists babies during a m*therf*cking global pandemic!!

    • GiveSomeTakeSome says:

      We live in a society now where the white man is accusing foreigners of bringing in diseases. Modern-day Columbo has a bigger ego than the white house.

  2. TQ says:

    This. Trump’s racist dog whistle was entirely by design. He condones racism and encourages the racists to act. FFS. So glad responsible gov officials like Leticia James and others are stepping up.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Oh yes, he knows EXACTLY what he is doing here. He knows nothing brings the Magats together like some good ole fashioned American Racism.

    • Hellohello says:

      My partner is Asian and I am white. About a month ago we were walking on the street and another pedestrian said to him, “take your Coronavirus and go back where you came from.”

      I was shocked but my partner said he deals with that kind of thing often enough. Trump’s rhetoric is encouraging this dangerous racism. And I imagine it can easily escalate to more than just hostile words.

  3. ChillyWilly says:

    This sickens me to my core. There are enough racist mofo’s in this country already and this monster is just fanning the flames of hate for 2 hours a day on national television! It makes me so angry that I start to cry. Everything’s so awful right now. I just pray that we can get rid of him in November.

  4. Bucky Bieber says:

    I’m surprised Trump hasn’t been calling it ‘The Big Virus.’

  5. Trillian says:

    No one except Trump calls it the China virus. And he does it on purpose.

    • Lightpurple says:

      All the right-wing pundits like Charlie Kirk and Candace Owen do. And they’re demanding “punishment and reparations.”

      • Trillian says:

        I was thinking of outside the US. Never heard it from anyone but Trump. We don’t hear of many other right-wing US idiots.

      • Desdemona says:

        Trillian is right,outside the USA no government calls it the Chinese virus; just Covid-19, or Coronavirus…
        I do see racist remarks on news, and certain types of news about the chinese markets and the lack of hygiene and so on.. But not governments, they’re very careful about it…

  6. Lolo86lf says:

    Racists all over the country are brimming with joy as the orange turd continues to fan the flames of racism. No racist is more thrilled to watch this horrible spectacle than ANN COULTER. She is trying her best to get in his good graces after he shunned her by calling her a wacky nut job.

  7. Jess says:

    It makes me sick, and anyone who supports this bs is just as racist. It subconsciously takes blame off of him and puts it on China. It’s disgusting and his supporters are falling right for it.

    Same with bringing up Obama and swine flu. It distracts them from his monumental screw ups in dealing with this.

  8. Alexandria says:

    He knows what he is doing.

    And please leave Singapore out of this Dr Birx! Our measures are not because of your recommendations! We have capable and rational people steering the ship (most of the time).

  9. Ann says:

    Racism=no bueno. Asking what China needs to do differently to avoid originating more viruses (this isn’t the first one coming out of China) is ok.

    • ME says:

      We should blame the Chinese government, not the innocent citizens of China. They had it the worst because they had to deal with the virus before the rest of the world. They got all the blame, and so did anyone living anywhere on this planet that remotely looked Chinese. The Chinese government should have ensured those wild animal markets never opened up again after SARS. They should have alerted WHO the minute they realized they had a new virus circulating, but they hide it for a month.

    • A says:

      Very true. The chinese government needs to take action to stop the animal markets for good to help stop spreading diseases!

  10. jessamine says:

    There’s a small asian market in my area that I’ve shopped at since I was a teenager aka before sriracha was cool and sold everywhere and the place usually does a pretty brisk business bc I live in a semi-rural new england area that doesn’t have a lot of ethnic food options. When I went in to stock up on quarantine provisions the store was dead empty and the proprietor — not usually chatty — was near tears thanking me for shopping because most customers were afraid to com in. I felt sick and angry that the people in my supposedly educated and liberal enclave could be so ignorant and racist.

    • ME says:

      I find this odd as well. Chinese restaurants are all almost out of business. Yet where is the fear to go in to an Italian eatery? Italy has more deaths from this virus than anyone. Those people that are afraid to go into a Chinese store/restaurant always had a little hate towards Chinese people in the first place (but enjoyed the food). At least that’s my take on it.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        Our favorite Chinese restaurant ended up closing. I’m hoping they can reopen after this is all over. The nicest people and the least deserving of something like this happening to them.

      • Christina says:

        Ours is a sick society. My family will continue to support the Asian restaurants we frequent by buying takeout because we are me of the fortunate families that can still afford to now.

        I hate Donald Trump and the racists who put him in the White House, and I hate the people who felt justified in “blowing up” the system because their needs weren’t met. Lots of minorities have been upset about their needs not being met here. We were told to “move to where there are jobs” and encouraged to work within the system.

        Going back to work now. Thanks, CBs for giving me some laughs and a place to vent about all of this.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        In my country, Chinese restaurants are owned by actual Chinese people while Italian restaurants are not owned by Italians, so that was why Chinese restaurants experienced the drop in customers (the narrative was that the Chinese went home for new years and might have brought the virus with them).

        This is irrelevant now because everyghing is closed per government’s orders. When this all is over, I’m def. going to a Chinese restaurant. And to Italy again. Thy’ll both need a business boost.

    • Em says:

      Our local Chinese market was pretty empty, but thankfully still doing ok business. And they had EVERYTHING – pasta, potatoes, canned tomatoes, rice, bananas, eggs, milk… at the supermarket people were fighting over that stuff. Unreal!

      Racism is strong stuff – if you’d rather fight someone who could potentially be infected than go to a Chinese owned store, then frankly you deserve to have your a$$ kicked.

  11. Valerie says:

    Stupid as he is, coronavirus isn’t a complicated name; neither is Covid-19. It’s just as easy to call it either of those things, which are its proper names. He knows what he’s doing and he’s explicitly stated it several times: He’s doing this to PLACE THE BLAME on China. He is a deflector and a dissenter. He has never taken responsibility for anything in his life unless it put him in a good light. And because he lacks anything approaching foresight, he thinks that sending the country back to work in a few weeks will do just that, not realizing (or caring) that it will only make things worse. Fuck him.

    • MB says:

      While I think trump is totally vile, I have no problem with blame being placed on the Chinese government.
      This whole thing originated from there, and they persecuted their own medical professionals for correctly identifying covid-19 for what it is. They withheld the truth from the world for an incredibly long time and censored social and mainstream media in China that made any reference to it.

      I don’t agree that people of Chinese decent should be abused for just existing, but I also think that it’s ok to place the blame on the Chinese government who could have done way more to prevent this sh*t show and the deaths of thousands.
      They haven’t even issued so much as a statement of concern or regret.

      • Cas says:

        That’s because the Chinese government have their own narrative that Covid-19 originated from the U.S. Army. And they have in fact issued statements about this – and the CCP and Xi Jinping are no Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. No reason to take the blame for something they didn’t do.

      • MB says:

        You are kidding right?

        If you think that a fundamentally dishonest nation having a “theory” that conveniently makes them out to be the victims, while simultaneously persecuting their own for speaking out about the virus’ very existence, means that they weren’t actually responsible then…. Yikes.

  12. caty page says:

    I’m with my racist in-laws right now. I never “call them out” on their views (before you jump down my throat, I’m Brown and they’re white, it’s not my job to fix racism).

    They kept saying, “China virus” and I finally snapped. They close their ears once the word “race” leaves my mouth, so I just told them that it’s a misnomer that makes Americans take the virus less seriously. They’re older and worried about young people taking it seriously, so then they at least changed the rant to focus to focus on young people.

    As I’m typing, they’ve switched the topic to why Italy’s issues with the pandemic are the result of universalized health care. BRB, head exploding.

  13. LeonsMomma says:

    And then there is this ****:
    A FB “friend” posted a COVID-19 meme (get ready for it): “Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease” with the 19 standing for it being the 19th virus to come out of China.

    Anyhow, I posted a story on her page about what it really stood for — ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. The 19 stands for 2019. She didn’t take it down, but did acquiese that it was wrong (in smaller type abvoe the meme that more people will read.)

  14. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    The Covfefe-19 virus is spreading through the USA and has killed more than 1,000 Americans because Trump is incompetent. Those deaths, and the thousands more to come, are on HIS hands.

  15. Nubiahbella says:

    Interesting how no one had an issue calling Ebola the African virus.