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Padma Lakshmi, Marcus Samuelsson and more chefs speak out against Asian hate

In response to the Atlanta shootings, some prominent chefs have shared posts on social media urging people to stand up for the Asian community.
Padma Lakshmi said that "a racist attack one of us is an attack against all of us."TODAY illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

In the response to the Atlanta shooting spree that targeted three Asian-owned spas and left eight people, six of whom were Asian women, dead on Tuesday night, some chefs are using their social media platforms to speak out against Asian hate.

According to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate, anti-Asian hate incidents have risen over the past year, with nearly 3,800 incidents reported — 68% of which were against women. A recent wave of attacks against Asian American seniors during the pandemic have given the issue increased attention.

Authorities in Georgia said that Robert Aaron Long, the man accused of the shootings, told investigators that he was motivated by "sexual addiction," calling the spas a "temptation … that he wanted to eliminate." While Long denied having racial motivations, experts and activists say it's difficult to separate race from the shootings, given the historical fetishization of Asian women.

Chinese American chef and producer Eddie Huang wrote on Instagram that "enough is enough" and highlighting former president Donald Trump's names for COVID-19, including "China Virus" and "Kung Flu."

"This was a coordinated attack on multiple Asian businesses with 6 Asian victims," wrote Huang in one Instagram post. "Stand with us, speak up with us, and if there is any humanity in you, recognize that our pain is yours as well. No one should be targeted and murdered because you don't like the color of their skin, PERIOD."

In a second post, Huang called the shooting another of the "3,800 hate crimes" that have been reported this year.

"Whether we get an admission that these were hate motivated crimes or not, the effect and result is an attack on Asian Women and the community," Huang wrote. "He sought out Asian Women, he targeted them, and he murdered them."

Taiwanese American chef Moonlynn Tsai, who co-owns and operates Kopitiam, a Malaysian restaurant in New York City, and distributes meals to elderly Asian Americans through her program Heart of Dinner, said on Instagram that she "woke up feeling numb" following the news of the shootings and urged people to remember the victims of the violence.

"The knot in my stomach continues to grow especially following the news and the reports on how this wasn’t racially motivated nor a hate crime," she wrote. "I’ve been thinking about the women in my life all day and my heart grieves for those who lost their mom, sister, grandma, cousin, daughter, aunt and also those who lost their grandfather, father, uncle, brother and friend. Know them: Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, of Acworth; Paul Andre Michels, 54, of Atlanta; Xiaojie Yan, 49, of Kennesaw; and Daoyou Feng, 44."

"The AAPI, Black and Brown communities have been historically and currently sharing common struggles," Tsai continued. "We need to stand together and we need our allies. Through unity is the only way we’ll make forward leaps and changes."

Korean American chef and TV host Kristen Kish asked people to "listen to what words you choose, what jokes you make, and what actions you feed" in a screenshot shared to Instagram.

"As I’ve been reading and watching the hates crimes against AAPI, my heart aches for the victims and their families, for those who fear walking to the store, those who’s grandmothers and uncles, sisters and fathers you cannot be with right now," Kish continued. "I don’t know the right words to write and this is all I can really muster right now but a lack of words does not mean a lack of immense feeling."

In the caption of her post, Kish urged people to "pay more attention."

"The hate against AAPI has been building, especially for the past year," she wrote. "It's horribly sad that this is no surprise it has gotten to this place."

Indian American "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi has shared several posts condemning the recent violence, remembering the victims, and directing people to fundraisers to help the AAPI community.

In one Instagram post, she urged people to "unpack all of the racist tropes and attitudes towards the AAPI community in this country from pop culture, media and politicians," also highlighting Trump's comments about COVID-19.

"Asians are not a monolith," Lakshmi wrote. "The continent includes around 48 countries and 3 territories, all with unique cultures, food customs and traditions. But a racist attack one of us is an attack against all of us."

Chinese American chef Melissa King posted a carousel of images about anti-Asian racism and how to help, captioning the photo, "As a person of color, racism comes to no surprise. It’s disheartening to witness the increase of Asian hate crimes throughout this country since Covid (1900%).

"From Asian restaurants being vandalized, to friends and family members being slurred at or spit at, to elderly attacks that make me worry about my own parents safety, and the recent shooting in Atlanta on Asian businesses & Asian women, I am enraged and will not stand silent. We must do better."

Other non-Asian chefs shared messages of solidarity.

"My heart is really hurting for the AAPI community. The amount of pain and violence and harassment whipped up by the guy who lost bigly, fox, and all the slime on the right is inexcusable," tweeted "Ace of Cakes" Duff Goldman, also referencing Trump. "Votes matter. Stay strong out there."

"Devastated to see yet another violent example of racism and xenophobia perpetuated against Asian Americans," Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson wrote on Twitter and Instagram. "I am here to stand united in support of this community that has been reeling from a surge in hate crimes."

"This world is showing its self more and more everyday. My sincere condolences to all of the people that have been victim to these horrible crimes in and out of the media," chef Kwame Onwuachi captioned a "Stop Asian Hate" image he posted on Instagram. "I remember crying from anger when @realdonaldtrump associated and labeled the virus with a negative connotation and included an Asian country in its description. I knew then that that would affect countless children and adults that would fall victim to abuse. Lead with love and positivity."