Manila journalists visiting US to interview hate crime victims become targets of anti-Asian hate

A group of journalists from Manila visiting Washington, D.C. and New York City allegedly became the target of anti-Asian hate just days after interviewing Filipino victims of similar experiences.

Elmer Cato, the Consul General of the Republic of the Philippines in New York, shared news of the incidents on Twitter on Thursday.

“A few days after interviewing Filipino hate crime victims, a group of visiting journalists from Manila experienced anti-Asian hate themselves not just once but three times on Thursday,” Cato, a former journalist himself, wrote.

Bernadette E. Tamayo, one of the journalists, wrote about her experience in The Manila Times. According to Tamayo, the journalists became the target of hate speech three times on Wednesday afternoon.

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The first incident occurred when a woman hurled racial slurs at their group while they were in a subway station, according to Tamayo.

“Go to hell! You f*cking monkeys!” the woman allegedly yelled.

A few hours later, her companions reportedly heard a man who was selling souvenir items shout “corona” at them as they passed by his stall on the Brooklyn bridge.

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The journalists then walked to the 9/11 Memorial, where another man allegedly tried approaching one of them before blurting out “F*ck you!”

“I was not able to witness these two incidents because I was walking way ahead of my companions. Why? I was too scared to be left behind and become a ‘target,’” Tamayo wrote. “The incident on the subway platform was traumatic enough for me.”

The other journalists have not been identified.

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According to Hate Crime Unit chief Hannah Yu, Asian hate crime incidents are taken “seriously,” but they cannot prosecute perpetrators if they are not identified.

“When there is no video and if the perpetrator can not be identified, that will lead to a closed investigation,” Yu told Tamayo. “That’s one of the impediments [to arresting the suspects]. If the perpetrator is not identified then there is not much we can do.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported 43 incidents of race-based violence and harassment involving Filipinos in August. According to DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza, most of the cases occurred in New York City, particularly in Manhattan and Queens.


Featured Image via Jason Leung