SACRAMENTO — U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra has pulled his controversial television advertisement and website after criticism from Asian American leaders, including State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), chair of the Senate Select Committee on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs.
Yee and others are saying that Hoekstra’s decision simply to pull the ad and website is not good enough and that an apology is in order.
The Hoekstra television ad attempted to go after Michigan incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow by portraying a young Asian woman speaking broken English surrounded by a rice field. Hoekstra’s website, www.debbiespenditnow.com, used several Chinese cultural symbols to attack Stabenow. The site has since been replaced by http://petespenditnot.com.
“Pete Hoekstra’s ad and marketing ploy was not only offensive, but a blatant attempt to demonize Asian culture,” said Yee. “While I am pleased that he pulled the indefensible ad and website, Hoekstra owes the Asian American community an apology.
“Using stereotypes in an attempt to win votes is ignorant and bigoted, and has no place in our discourse for public office.”
Hoekstra’s ad was produced by a California-based firm, Strategic Perception Inc.
“I would hope that in this day and age, especially from a California company, we were beyond the use of caricatures in political advertisements,” said Yee. “Matters of geopolitics are no excuse for baseless attacks on the culture and language of millions of loyal American citizens.”