ABC issues apology for mistaking NYC Asian American activist for Michelle Go

ABC mistakes activist
  • ABC News misidentified New York City community activist Grace Lee as the late Michelle Go in a primetime program.
  • Grace spoke to ABC News during a segment on the vigil for Christina Yuna Lee, who was fatally stabbed barely a month after Go was killed.
  • After catching the error on TV, Grace took to Twitter to call out ABC News, saying their mistake “further invisibilizes Asian women.”
  • On Tuesday, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), a nonprofit organization, announced that ABC News had apologized for their mistake.

ABC News has reportedly apologized for misidentifying a community activist in New York City as Michelle Go, the 40-year-old woman who was shoved into the path of an oncoming subway train.

The error appeared during a segment on the recent vigil for Christina Yuna Lee, which aired on “News Live Prime” with Linsey Davis on Feb. 14. Christina, 35, was fatally stabbed in her Chinatown apartment the day before.

Grace Lee, who is running to represent District 65 in the New York State Assembly, attended the vigil and was interviewed by ABC News correspondent Erielle Reshef. At the end of the segment, Reshef referred back to David Muir, suggesting that it was originally intended for the “World News Tonight” program.

The program identified Grace as Michelle Go, and she took to Twitter to call out ABC News, saying their mistake “further invisibilizes Asian women.”

NextShark was the first publication to report about the error. On Tuesday, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) announced that ABC News recently issued an apology.

Following the incident, AAJA President Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Executive Director Naomi Tacuyan Underwood reportedly met with ABC President Kim Godwin. They were told that the error was “an honest and unintentional mistake.”

“ABC News deeply regrets this isolated error and immediately corrected it,” the network said in a statement. “We have apologized directly to the parties involved and have spoken to Grace Lee and the AAJA. This was an unfortunate technical error, not one born from insensitivity. However, we do acknowledge and apologize for the hurt mistakes like this can cause to the Asian community.”

ABC News added that their “track record of fair reporting and elevating marginalized voices speak to our sincerity.” AAJA, for its part, commended the network “for taking immediate steps to correct the error.”

In light of the incident, AAJA urged news outlets to be careful when reporting about members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, who have already been facing an increase in hate crimes since the onset of COVID-19.

“Accidental misidentification of names can perpetuate and further exacerbate the erasure and otherizing that minority communities have historically faced,” AAJA said.

Featured Image via ABC News

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