CNN anchor denounces 'stupid and racist' behaviour after a passerby hurled a racial slur at Asian-American colleague

CNNCNN host Jake Tapper, left, and CNN senior correspondent Kyung Lah.
  • CNN senior correspondent Kyung Lah, an Asian-American, said that a man walked up and “used a racial slur” as she was preparing for her morning segment.
  • “I don’t think, I think it’s been since elementary school, that I have had heard it directly to my face,” she said on CNN.
  • Lah was born in South Korea and grew up in Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois and is based in Los Angeles.
  • The incident comes as a wave of discriminatory behaviour and alleged hate crimes against Asian-Americans were reported in recent weeks, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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A CNN senior correspondent recounted on her network an offensive comment made by a passerby as she was reporting for a story on Friday.

News correspondent Kyung Lah, an Asian-American, said that a man walked up and “used a racial slur” as she was preparing for her segment in the morning.

“I was so surprised, I was so taken aback, that I asked him to repeat it because I couldn’t believe it,” Lah said to CNN anchor Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”

“I think it’s been since elementary school, that I have heard it directly to my face,” she added. “It’s something you see on social media frequently, especially if you’re an Asian American reporting on controversial or even non-controversial news items.”

Lah was born in South Korea and grew up in Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois and is based in CNN’s Los Angeles offices.

“That is something that I have not experienced in a very, very long time in this country,” Lah said.

CNN anchor Tapper expressed his condolences to Lah for her “unsettling encounter” and noted to viewers that “if you are stupid and racist enough to be holding random individuals of Asian descent responsible for a pandemic, then you should be self-quarantined from society anyway.”

Lah reiterated that incidents similar to hers are occurring “in front of our faces, directly at people,” as a wave of discriminatory behaviour and alleged hate crimes against Asian-Americans have been reported in recent weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a case reported by the New York Post earlier in March, an unidentified Asian man alleged a 44-year-old man named Raoul Ramos screamed at him for not wearing a mask while he was walking with his 10-year-old son in New York. Ramos, who is accused of hitting the Asian man in the head before fleeing, was arrested.

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) firmly denounced “the escalating violence and rhetoric aimed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including journalists, amid the coronavirus outbreak.”

“We also fully support and encourage journalists to continue to be vigilant in reporting the growing anti-Asian sentiment tied to the outbreak along with the rhetoric,” AAJA said in a statement.

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