UPDATE 8/25 1:10pm: The editor responsible for the Asian slurs has been fired. For the full story, go here.
The Philadelphia Public Record newspaper has apologized for using racial slurs in a photo caption depicting City Councilman Mark Squilla with a group of Asians in Chinatown, referring to some in the photo as “Chinky Winky,” “Dinky Doo,” and “Me Too.”
Here’s the apology in full as posted on the newspaper’s website:
In our Aug. 21, 2014 issue an offensive slur was accidentally published in the Philadelphia Public Record. This shocking lapse of professional conduct occurred contrary to our editorial directives and in no way reflects the views of our staff or our organization.
An internal investigation is underway to uncover the source of this intolerable abuse and to prevent it from ever happening again. We apologize whole-heartedly to the Asian American community and to all Philadelphians of this vibrant, diverse city who work together to make it the best place in America to live and to grow.
But when we spoke with Philadelphia Public Record publisher (and former City Councilman-turned-federal inmate) Jimmy Tayoun about the matter when we first broke the story, he was hardly apologetic, insisting it was merely a “proofreading error.”
And when we pressed him on it, Tayoun said, “Don’t make something out of nothing. Nobody is offended, so stop trying to start trouble.”
“I can’t believe they are still sticking to the story that it was accidentally published,” says Rob Buscher, the Japanese-American director of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. “This is a total non-apology and unless they were to fire the person responsible for this, I doubt that the community is going to let up. … The worst part is, every time something like this happens our city gets further stigmatized as an intolerant place by outsiders.”
After we pointed out the newspaper’s racial slur, complaints rolled in from everyone from the Organization of Chinese Americans-Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Philadelphia Chapter to schools advocate Helen Gym to LGBT activist and Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims.
Usually, if you want to make a newspaper feel your outrage, the only way to do so is by getting its advertisers to pull their ads. In the issue in question, those advertisers included the Carpenters Union, potential mayoral candidate Anthony Hardy Williams, local car dealers Piazza Honda and Pacifico Ford, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
“We could get a pretty convincing campaign put together in terms of boycotting advertisers until they divest,” promises Buscher.