AMERICANS PROTEST AGAINST RACIST MAGAZINE FEATURE
Action Alert - Asian
Americans to Protest Details Magazine Written
by Doris Lin
American activists and anti-racism activists will protest outside the
offices of Details magazine at 7 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001
at 12:00 noon on Friday, April 16, 2004. Details magazine published
a feature in its April 2004 issue titled, “Gay or Asian”
that described Asian American men with such offensive terms as “bonsai
ass” and “sashimi-smooth chest.” To view the page,
please see the "Ad" listed below.
April 16, 12:00 noon
7 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
‘Gay or Asian’ feature is offensive not only to Asian Americans,
but to anyone who objects to racist humor,” says spokesperson
Doris Lin. “If terms like ‘bonsai ass’ or ‘sashimi-smooth
chest’ are not racist, what is? Asian Americans all over the country
are outraged. We are demanding a full-page public apology in a future
issue, and we are demanding that Details Magazine fire Whitney McNally,
the author of the feature.”
protest is being organized by Asian Media Watchdog. Asian Media Watchdog
was founded by Colleen Eustice-Sakai and Jimmy Fujikawa. Our goal is
to promote a fair and balanced portrayal of Asians and Asian Americans
in the American entertainment industry.
We are demanding
a full-page public apology in a future issue of the magazine, and we
are demanding that Details magazine fire Whitney
McNally, the author of the feature.
protest is being organized by Asian Media Watchdog. Asian Media
Watchdog was founded by Colleen Eustice-Sakai and Jimmy Fujikawa.
Our goal is to promote a fair and balanced portrayal of Asians
and Asian Americans in the American entertainment industry. Asian
Media Watchdog is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization.
did Asian Media Watchdog come about? On July 13, 2003, the Fox Broadcasting Corporation began
airing an offensive television show called "Banzai".
A yahoo group named Ban Banzai was created to protest the show
by means of sending emails, writing letters, and placing phone
calls to "Banzai" sponsors and urging them to withdraw
their support for this show. After that campaign, a group of people
from the yahoo board in New York City got together in the hopes
creating a formal group to promote a fair and balanced portrayal
of Asian American in the media industry, noticing the lack of
such an advocacy group on the East Coast. After several member
changes, Asian Media Watchdog was born.
Media Watchdog is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization. For
more information, please visit http://www.asianmediawatchdog.com
or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 560-5683.
make and bring signs against racism, against Details magazine and against
Whitney McNally. New York City law prohibits signs on wooden sticks,
but you can bring signs on cardboard tubes or hand-held signs. If you
are able to help publicize this protest, please email Doris at email@example.com
with your snail mail address, and we can send you flyers that you can
post in local stores or around college campuses. Flyers will be available
after Friday, April 2.
OCA REBUKES BLATANT RACIAL
STEREOTYPING IN DETAILS MAGAZINE ARTICLE
denounces this column as wholly unacceptable. OCA aligns itself
with those who fight for the justice of gay communities across
the United States and finds Details' use of Asian cultural foods
and traditions as a definition of "gay" to be homophobic
and offensive to gay men both within the APA community and the
gay community at large. Moreover, further offenses and trite generalizations
about other communities will not be tolerated.
you for your letter regarding the "Gay or Asian?"
piece, which ran in the April issue of Details. I regret
that you were offended by the aforementioned story.
Details is publishing a response, in the May issue, to the
overwhelming amount of calls and letters the magazine has
received on the offensive nature of this satirical editorial.
It was not our intention for this story to hurt anyone of
any race or sexual orientation. Your comments are appreciated
Kind regards, Dan Peres / Editor-in Chief - Details
Details article uses banal generalizations about Asian food and
physical features of Asian Pacific American men. Details limits
the image of APA males, which is blatantly offensive and dehumanizing
to the APA population," said OCA National President, Raymond
Wong. "The APA community will not allow Details to use us
as limiting markers for the gay community whom we believe embody
article evidences Details' lack of sophistication and complete
disrespect for the APA community," said Christine Chen, OCA
Executive Director. "APA males face systemic challenges from
frequently being characterized as effeminate and meek, which emasculates
them from the well-balanced personalities and images they evince.
Ignorant articles like this one merely exacerbate the prevalent
discrimination of APA males who already suffer from lack of representation
in the media."
OCA sent a letter to Details expressing its condemnation of this
article. For an actual copy of the letter, please refer to the
OCA website at www.ocanatl.org.
calls on all concerned individuals to contact Details' editor-in-chief
to immediately recall the April 2004 magazine, issue a formal
apology to the APA community, and demand Details eliminate Whitney
McNally's column from future publication.
News Staff Writer Hugh Son wrote
The April 2004 issue of the magazine - which features fur-clad
singer Nick Lachey on its cover - instructs readers how to discern
whether a model is a homosexual or an Asian male in a full-page
feature, titled "Gay or Asian?" that is loaded with
double entendres that poke fun at stereotypes of Asians and gays.
"One cruises for chicken; the other takes it General Tso-style,"
writes Details staffer Whitney McNally - Details magazine has
a circulation of 400,000 and is carried in bookstores across the
spokeswoman Andrea Kaplan said editors rushed to put a statement
in their May issue after they were flooded with angry phone calls.
"We regret the fact that anyone has been offended by this
article, and we're sorry a piece of satire has been interpreted
this way," Kaplan told the Daily News."Unintentional
hate still hurts," responded Caryl Stern, associate national
director of the Anti-Defamation League. She called the Details
piece "horribly offensive."
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PARTIAL LIST OF SUPPORTING
of Chinese Americans (OCA)
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)
Audre Lorde Project – New York
Queer Asian Pacific Alliance (QAPA) – Boston, MA
Massachusetts Area South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (MASALA)
Providence Youth-Student Movement (PrYSM)
Asian/Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA) –
Asian Pacific Islander Queer Sisters (APIQS) – Washington,
KhushDC - Washington DC South Asian LGBT Organization
Al-Fatiha Foundation (Queer Muslims & Allies)
Asian Pacific Islanders for Human Rights (APIHR) – Los Angeles,
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
not sure which is the more offensive aspect of "Gay or Asian?"
by Whitney McNally in your April issue: its reduction of two minority
groups to grabbags of demeaning stereotypes, or its utter lack
of humor. But we'll focus on the former. While we can't figure
out exactly what the feature is trying to say -- Asian men are
gay? Asian men look gay? Asian men would be better off gay? --
there's no disguising the fact that it combines leering sexual
innuendo and a litany of the most tired cliches about both Asian
and gay culture with no goal other than to ridicule both groups.
we overreacting to a throwaway, front-of-the-book feature in a
men's fashion magazine? No. The lack of care and taste isn't the
only transgression here. Humor and "edginess" are not
excuses for caricaturing and insult, and the particular caricatures
being played upon here -- of gay men as predatory cruisers, of
Asian men as exotic and effeminate (yet always scheming) -- are
precisely those that have been most damaging through the years.
Are there any other entire categories of men you would have felt
comfortable making fun of entirely on the basis of sexuality?
We think not; and we think that your readers would agree with
us, and are too sophisticated to see anything funny in the portrayal.
behalf of the 2,000 reporters, editors and industry executives
of Asian descent represented by the Asian American Journalists
Association, we ask that you issue an apology to the many Asian
Americans who find this story offensive and pledge to take greater
care in the future.
AAJA National President
Abe Kwok, AAJA
National Vice President for Print