An Asian American journalist in Seattle has allegedly been the target of Antifa threats on Twitter due to his coverage of the city’s homelessness crisis.
Jonathan Choe, who reports for KOMO News, has been leading a weekly segment called “Project Seattle,” which reveals the expanse of the city’s issue of homelessness and attempts to hold leaders and public officials accountable. Last week, Choe took to Twitter to expose three individuals who allegedly tried to stop him from filming in front of Seattle’s City Hall. He tagged other news outlets with the warning “Watch your back.”
“Along with the umbrella folk, watch out for ‘orange bandana’ man. He keeps following me and yelling at at [sic] media during LIVE shots,” Choe wrote.
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Days later, Andy Ngo, an Asian American journalist based in Portland, posted screenshots of tweets that accused Choe of being a fascist and also appeared to threaten him with physical violence. The tweets, as per Ngo’s screenshots, came from a profile of an “antifascist.” Ngo, who has reported about Antifa activities for years, fell victim to a June 2019 mob incident which involved eggs, bear spray, pepper spray and milkshakes. He was also attacked last year in May. He reportedly suffered bruises, lacerations and a “brain bleed” from the first incident, while he found himself beaten up and running for his life in the second. “I think we could make Jonathan Choe so widely hated that he physically cannot film in the city,” wrote the Twitter user in question with the handle @NegressMilitant. “He needs to know he has eyes on him at all times. He needs people to get in his face…” Another user who goes by the handle @DogsArePraxis doubled down and suggested that Choe should experience what Ngo did: “Basically we need to do to Choe what Portland has done to Ngo. Anyone got a good milkshake handy?” Choe subsequently reacted to the tweets. “Didn’t know they enjoyed my stories so much,” he tweeted. “And @MrAndyNgo, looks like they want to target Asian American journalists.”
He also wrote, “I wonder what the response would be if we were a different race or ethnicity?”
The alleged Antifa profiles remain live as of this writing. In a more recent tweet, @DogsArePraxis accused Choe’s reporting of stirring violence in Seattle.
“Choe has inspired assaults and displacement of the most vulnerable in our city. To spin the community ire against him as racism while aligning himself with a stochastic terrorist who recently inspired a mass shooting is a new low for his ‘journalism.’”
The user did not identify the “stochastic terrorist” in their tweet.
Both Choe and Ngo have called for the attention of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) over the matter, but the organization has yet to issue a public response.