I don’t know the motives behind Rinder’s use of the phrase in insulting me since I have never even met this man and he knows nothing about me. But I do think I speak for Asian-Americans in that we find it insulting when someone mocks our heritage. I am proud of my name and who I am.
October 1, 2018
Ms. Latondra Newton
SVP & Chief Diversity Officer
The Walt Disney Company
Dear Ms. Newton,
I last wrote you on August 26 with a simple request—that you ask an employee of the Walt Disney Co., Mike Rinder, to stop repeatedly mocking my Asian-American surname on his personal website.
Because these references to my name are clearly racist and insulting to my heritage, I assumed they were inconsistent with the values of the Walt Disney Co. and the units it owns, including the A&E network Rinder works for. Having read Disney’s response to Roseanne Barr’s racist comments, I frankly didn’t see the difference and assumed Disney at a minimum would ask Rinder to stop.
Apparently, I was wrong. On Saturday, September 8, Rinder not only showed he won’t stop, he doubled down by defending his slurs against Asian-Americans. He referred to them as “my snark” and stated that I must have “checked my sense of humor at the door” by complaining. In other words, racism and bigotry are just good fun and something we should all have a laugh about with him.
As I noted in my previous letter, I also discovered that the phrase he uses to mock my name is a homophobic slur. I don’t know the motives behind Rinder’s use of the phrase in insulting me since I have never even met this man and he knows nothing about me. But I do think I speak for Asian-Americans in that we find it insulting when someone mocks our heritage. I am proud of my name and who I am. If he is so insensitive that he feels it’s innocent “snark” to mock my surname, will he then feel free to mock the name of a Jewish individual, a Latino or an African-American?
I am disappointed that no action has been taken. I never even asked for a public apology. All I asked was that the Walt Disney Co. do what is right and tell an employee of yours to stop making racist remarks that reflect poorly on your company. Like it or not, as the co-host of a show on a Disney-owned network, Rinder represents your company and its values. Now that he is defending racist remarks, I think it is imperative that you say something to him to get him to stop.
Please get back to me concerning my request.