SAG-AFTRA Members Decry Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans in New PSA

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Stills from “Wash the Hate” video with Jeannie Mai, Ken Jeong, Lucy Liu, Christina Chang, Vincent Rodriguez III, and Tzi Ma.

SAG-AFTRA on July 21 released a PSA featuring performers, broadcast journalists and social media influencers calling on all Americans to stand against the stigma, xenophobia and harassment related to COVID-19 that Asian Americans continue to experience. 

The video was prompted by the sudden spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic.

The full video can be viewed on YouTube and on www.sagaftra.org. Sixteen SAG-AFTRA members appear in the PSA: 

Jon Jon Briones

Christina Chang

Juju Chang

Joel De La Fuente

Amy Hill

James Hong

Carrie Ann Inaba

Ken Jeong

Clyde Kusatsu

Jodi Long

Lucy Liu

Tzi Ma

Jeannie Mai 

Vincent Rodriguez III

Iqbal Theba

Hudson Yang

“As a global community, we are experiencing a historically difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “Unfortunately, instead of working together to get through this crisis, a few misguided people are looking for a scapegoat. We are still seeing a shocking increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, including shunning, racial profiling, verbal harassment and even physical assault. 

“This is a time of high stress, but that is no excuse for discriminatory behavior. We are all Americans and we are all in this together.”

“SAG-AFTRA is paying attention to those brave Asian American voices coming forward with their heart-wrenching experiences of harassment,” said Ren Hanami, chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Asian Pacific American Media Committee. “We are listening to our members who have a stake in shaping a better world, free of discrimination and harassment, and we applaud Asian American activists, organizations and allies who are bringing attention to this issue. SAG-AFTRA stands with you.” 

“If you experience hateful, criminal behavior or witness it, please report it to your local law enforcement. Let’s stand up for each other,” added Carteris. 

The video premiered during the union’s “Race & Storytelling: Asian American Voices” livestream panel discussion, which explored the ways in which better representation in the media and three-dimensional portrayals of Asian American Pacific Islander characters can counter stereotypes and result in larger societal impact. You can view the panel discussion on YouTube.

The panel was moderated by Jeff Yang, CNN opinion contributor and co-host of the “They Call Us Bruce” podcast. Panelists were: Clyde Kusatsu, actor, “Dr. Ken”; Christina Chang, actor, “The Good Doctor”; Juju Chang, broadcast journalist, ABC News’ “Nightline”; Parvesh Cheena, actor, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”; Leslie Woo, casting director, “The Farewell”; and Hudson Yang, actor, “Fresh Off the Boat.”

SAG-AFTRA, which brings together the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.

Video Transcript

Lucy Liu: We’re living at a time when humanity matters most. Even though we’re physically apart, we must all come together as one.

Jon Jon Briones: Yes, we’re worried about our health. Our loved ones. Job prospects. Our nation.

Amy Hill: It’s a scary time. But we can’t let fear turn into hate.

Iqbal Theba: Far too many people are using this crisis as an excuse to forget reason and embrace racism.

Juju Chang: Asian Americans have been the victims of verbal and physical harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vincent Rodriguez III: Law enforcement has recorded a surge in hate crimes aimed at our community.

Christina Chang: Families have been shunned. Businesses vandalized.

Hudson Yang: People attacked on public transportation and children bullied and called hurtful names.

Carrie Ann Inaba: Can you imagine what it’s like to face this kind of behavior at a time like this?

Joel de la Fuente: That’s what many of us – across America – are dealing with during this crisis.

James Hong: And the number of incidents – they will rise, I’m afraid so.

Ken Jeong: We must all stop the stigma. We must all stop the xenophobia. We must all stop the hate.

Jodi Long: This crisis has revealed some of our strengths.

Jeannie Mai: Communities virtually coming together to raise money, feed people, lift spirits up.

Tzi Ma: So, let’s make sure ending this behavior becomes one of our strengths. Stand up against racism when you see it.

Clyde Kusatsu: Support local Asian American business owners. Take care of your neighbors. We will get through this with empathy, care and love for our fellow man, woman and child.

Juju Chang: As members of SAG-AFTRA and as Americans, we know our strength is in our diversity.

Christina Chang: We are always

Joel de la Fuente: Stronger

GROUP: Together.

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