Philly Newspaper Apologizes for Calling Asians “Chinky Winky” and “Dinky Doo”

“An internal investigation is underway,” they promise.


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.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • tomb lair

    Disappointed to see Piazza Honda is an advertiser in the Philadelphia Public Record after this.

    • disqus_JjYnU5MRNk

      But I’ve seen two reports here, repeating the slurs verbatim. Why is that not a problem, too.

      • Jonathan Mandoza

        Is that you Jimmy T?

      • Dan Mitchell


        Just like when newspapers reported World War II. It was like all those people were getting killed all over again.

      • “Russian Guyovich”

        I’m sorry, what?

        They are repeating the slurs verbatim because people, including me, want to know what ethnic slurs were used by the (former) editor at Philadelphia Public Record. It is a quote used in context, not to offend. If you are offended by these quotes, I suggest you re-evaluate how you feel, and realize the quote was used for the sake of reporting. I can understand if someone’s usage of hurtful words aired on television during a news report would offend some viewers (even if it was a quote), but this is a web article.

        I am an Asian American, and I am offended by the blatantly racist caption used, yes, but not at the quote. I am more offended by the racist editor, and Philadelphia Public Record publisher Jimmy Tayoun Sr., for his lack of concern regarding how the Asian community would feel, as well as other readers.

        I partially see your point, I do agree that it is ridiculous that PhillyMag’s URL for this article is “philly-newspaper-racial-slurs-asians-chinky-winky-dinky-doo/”. I’m less offended and more in awe of the web address, and seeing it plastered all over the page. Especially since readers would have seen the racial slurs quoted in the article. However, I still do not think their intention was harmful or offensive, unlike Philadelphia Public Record, just rather tactless.

  • SL

    Fire the person who did it to prove this isn’t just lip service.

  • Drew Rothman

    My guess is that some junior staffer or intern put the caption in there pending the actual names, thinking he/she was being funny, expecting it to be replaced with real info before printing. At the very least, they should fire an editor.

  • bob krzenski

    the caption is actually pretty funny’..ok’ i’m waiting to hear why i think its funny!

  • shannon

    Only “funny” thing about this situation is that it distracted from them misspelling “for.”

  • Bill Adams

    The first victim of leftist self-righteousness is always the sense of humor. Really, no wonder their newspapers are always going broke. A steady diet of grimness is no way to attract any but the humorless pedants who are the bulwark of socialism.

    • *blink*

      I guess you may be right. I don’t think this is funny on any level.


  • yourmom

    So I can boycott the Parking Authority now because I’m Asian?

  • So Obvious someone was fooling around with the caption and didn’t make the correction before the paper went to press. Firing someone and apologizing is Not going to fix any real racism, but…I gotta admit it IS Funny. Go ahead and make fun of my race-Polish, German and Irish. I’ve got a sense of humor unlike most of these clowns who are Just looking to be offended. By the way, Why is ‘Oriental’ considered a non-PC term now? Look in Chinatown and they have a store with the word Oriental in it. Guess some folks ain’t buying any Oriental Rugs soon. C’mon people, is this Really that big a deal? Considering all our Other problem?

    • Baron Von Goggleheim

      I am German American. If I were to have internalized all the stereotypes that have been directed at my ethnicity from Hogans Hero’s to direct affronts by co-workers I’d have a sweet case! But it doesn’t phase me as I don’t connect with it. If it amuses me, I laugh! I am very proud of my ethnicity and there is not one silly smear that can alter that.