According to their masthead in the issue that hit the stands today, AsianWeek has removed Samson Wong as editor-in-chief, but he remains on staff as a \"senior editorial consultant.\"
They made us aware earlier this week that something was going to change on the masthead, but did not provide us with specifics. Ted Fang has also not yet communicated with us about the reasoning behind this change, nor made any formal announcement that we know of.
Press release below.
CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS RESPOND TO
CHANGES IN ASIANWEEK EDITORIAL STAFF
SAN FRANCISCO (March 30, 2007) - Leaders of the civil rights organizations that initiated the protest against AsianWeek\'s publication of a hate speech column against African Americans today noted the newspaper\'s decision to remove Samson Wong as editor-in-chief.
The masthead of the newspaper\'s March 30 issue shows that former editor-in-chief Samson Wong\'s title is now \"Senior Editorial Consultant.\"
\"We asked AsianWeek to hold the editor responsible for publishing the piece accountable,\" said Gen Fujioka, program director at the Asian Law Caucus. \"Though the community still needs to hear directly from AsianWeek, we hope this indicates a step towards healing the hurt caused both to African Americans and also the vast majority of Asian Americans who abhor the racism expressed by the previous article.\"
\"From the start, this has not been just an issue of hate speech, but an issue of journalistic judgment and responsibility,\" said Vincent Pan, executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. \"All communities must be vigilant against bigots and racists, as well as those who hand them microphones.\"
After initially denying any wrongdoing, AsianWeek issued an apology and fired Kenneth Eng, the writer of a column titled \"Why I Hate Blacks\" that advocated discriminating against African Americans.
Immediately after the column was published, a national coalition of APA and civil rights organizations called on AsianWeek to, among other things, review its editorial policy and process and hold those responsible for the decision to publish the Eng piece accountable.
ORIGINAL PETITION TEXT
We join Asian American leaders in criticizing AsianWeek for printing Kenneth Eng\'s column "Why I Hate Blacks" in its February 23rd edition. We condemn the piece as irresponsible journalism, blatantly racist, replete with stereotypes, and deeply hurtful to African Americans.
We call on AsianWeek to take immediate action and issue an unequivocal apology, terminate their relationship with Kenneth Eng, print an editorial debunking the column and setting the record straight, review their editorial policy and process, and hold those responsible accountable.
UPDATE 2/24: The column was deleted this morning from the AsianWeek website. Download a PDF here:
"Eng\'s article is unacceptable and offensive not only to African Americans, but to all Americans," said Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center.
"Most Asian Americans would not be here in America today, but for the civil rights movement led by African Americans that resulted in the change to racist immigration quotas," said Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.
\"It\'s irresponsible for a publication like AsianWeek to publish an article that advocates hate and bigotry,\" said Vincent Pan, Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action.
"Asian Americans should recognize the debt we all owe African Americans who blazed the civil rights path we have walked on in our journey to equality," said Dale Minami, President of the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans.
\"The publication of these racist statements is completely irresponsible and damaging to all our communities. Not only should there be a retraction but a serious effort to repair the harm caused,\" said Gen Fujioka, Program Director of the Asian Law Caucus.
"Eng\'s column harkens back to a era of Jim Crow and bigotry that should not be tolerated in our society," said Eric K. Yamamoto, Professor of Law
"Eng\'s vile racism is a setback to the efforts of people of color working together against discrimination, oppression and injustice," said Keith Kamisugi, associate director for communications at the Equal Justice Society. "His words alone are disgusting; that it was printed in a prominent English-language Asian Pacific American newspaper is shameful."
"Asian Americans do not share Eng\'s extremely racist views. Asian Americans need to take this opportunity to reach out and build a constructive dialog." Yvonne Lee, Former Member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
\"It is critical that our Asian American community stands up and tells America
Asian American Justice Center
Asian Pacific American Legal Center
Chinese for Affirmative Action/Center for Asian American Advocacy
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans
Equal Justice Society
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