Vincent Chin Podcast Addresses Controversy

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A-Major Media has announced that it will disable a podcast about Vincent Chin, just days after releasing it on May 27.

The podcast, titled “Hold Still, Vincent,” attracted attention with the involvement of big-screen actors, including Gemma Chan and Kelly Marie Tran, but was then criticized for not contacting the Chin estate or author Helen Zia, one of the leaders of the “Justice for Vincent Chin” campaign.

Vincent Chin and Helen Zia

In 1982, Chin, who was engaged to be married, was killed in the Detroit area by two white men after an altercation. After the assailants were sentenced to probation and fines instead of jail time, Asian American organizations across the country united to pursue federal charges for the violation of Chin’s civil rights.

A conviction was won but was overturned on appeal. A civil case was won but Ronald Ebens, the man who struck Chin in the head with a baseball bat, has avoided paying Chin’s estate.

Chin’s mother, Lily, participated in the movement for years but later returned to China and has since passed away.

Zia posted on Instagram and Facebook, “It’s amazing to see so many Vincent Chin film projects. To my friends who are sending congrats to me for the new Vincent Chin podcast — I don’t know anyone associated with this project and have never been contacted by them. Nor has the estate of Vincent and Lily Chin. That said, such an important story deserves to be told and every American should know about what happened to Vincent Chin and about this multiracial, multicultural Asian American-centered civil rights movement. 

“I hope these various Hollywood projects get the stories right about the AAPI community, because the lessons of the Vincent Chin justice movement are critical to countering today’s tsunami of anti-Asian hate. Creators —please at least check in with community people who lived these experiences, including the estate of Lily and Vincent Chin—the AAPI community and its activists deserve that respect. 

“I’m not dead yet and it’s weird hearing/seeing myself fictionalized by people who have never tried to connect with me or the estate.”

Annie Tan, an community activist who is related to Chin, said, “To my knowledge no one in my family was contacted about this podcast, which will become a feature film apparently. (Many groups making content about Vincent Chin have contacted me/other family tho.) … 

“I tried listening to the ‘Hold Still, Vincent’ Chin podcast (honestly the title is triggering to me as a cousin), and the disclaimer in the beginning that events were fictionalized for dramatic effects made me stop playing. I’ll eventually listen to it but I couldn’t last night.

“Like, Vincent Chin was beaten to death with a baseball bat. One of the guys held him down while the other bashed my cousin’s brains into the street. I honestly don’t know why this podcast is called ‘Hold Still, Vincent.’ Maybe there’s meaning to it — I haven’t listened — but what?

“And it’s hard for me to say this because I want people to know my cousin Vincent Chin’s story. But I just don’t get it.

“Apparently the title comes from a screenplay of the same name that this podcast is based on by Johnny Ngo. Is it meant to evoke the uneasy emotions I’m now feeling, cuz if so it succeeded.

“Just want to say this is my own opinion and I do not claim to speak for my family who make up many, many people, including those who supported and love my great-auntie Lily Chin and cousin Vincent Chin and who are still alive today to speak for themselves.”

A-Major Media said via Instagram, “On behalf of the producers, we profoundly apologize to Helen Zia and the Vincent Chin estate for our oversight during the making of ‘Hold Still, Vincent.’ We are deeply sorry to all the generous partners who came together to donate their time and bear no responsibility for our mistake — Gemma Chan, our incredible cast, QCODE, Phillip Sun (M88), Carmen Cuba and Gold House — as our only motivation was to share Vincent’s story with the world.

“We are in contact with Helen Zia and the Vincent Chin estate and have offered to take the podcast down. In the meantime, we are disabling the podcast out of respect for Helen and the estate and will be guided by their wishes.”

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