Great Moments in Racism and Disgusting Political Ads
The Detroit [Michigan] Free Press
USA daily broadsheet
Thursday 16 February 2012
Asian-American actress says
role in Pete Hoekstra ad
was 'absolutely a mistake'
by Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press Washington Staff
WASHINGTON -- The Asian-American actress who played a role in a controversial campaign ad says it was "absolutely a mistake" to take the role, which was criticized as portraying cultural stereotypes.
Lisa Chan, a 21-year-old who lives in the San Francisco area, posted a message on her Facebook page Wednesday saying, "I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities."
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Holland Republican running for the U.S. Senate, aired the ad on Super Bowl Sunday in Michigan.
In it, Chan is seen bicycling along a rice paddy, making it seem as though she is in China. In broken English, Chan then thanks Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow for supporting policies the Hoekstra campaign suggests have helped create jobs overseas.
Critics blasted Hoekstra for perpetuating cultural stereotypes with the ad, which received national notoriety. Hoekstra has since taken the ad down from his website.
Chan was also singled out for criticism by commentators who wondered why she agreed to such a role.
In her Facebook post, Chan wrote, "As a recent college grad who has spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice, this role is not in any way representative of who I am. It was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that, over time, I hope can be forgiven."
The Hoekstra campaign declined to comment directly on the post, with spokesman Paul Ciaramitaro saying only that the ad deals with issues "we will continue to address."
According to a report in the Napa Valley Register in December, Chan is a recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley, with a sociology degree who last year named herself Miss Napa Valley USA in order to enter the 2012 Miss California competition.
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