Comedian Mike Kim is causing a stir online after sharing his excitement for the fetishization of Asian men following a time when “nobody wanted us.”
In a video posted to TikTok last week, Kim says the rise of popularity with K-dramas and anime have shifted perceptions of Asian men from undesirable to the point where now, “everybody wants a piece of us.”
He briefly acknowledges the fetishization of Asian women, saying, “I get what they’re going through,” but suggests that Asian men should be able to enjoy being fetishized for some time before objecting to the dehumanizing nature of it.
Reactions to his video have been mixed across social media platforms, with some finding it funny and others questioning whether it’s meant to be a form of satire. Regardless of whether the video was meant to be taken seriously, the message has struck a nerve among many women who find this sort of mentality to be common among men of color.
Fellow comedian and TikToker Ellen Acuario criticized Kim for behavior she’s long been fed up with by other “Asian bros.” Acuario claims that whenever any form of Asian entertainment reaches mainstream success, many Asian men on the app will jump on the opportunity to be fetishized despite it stemming from racism.
“Y’all have been out here, pedaling so hard to be the Dollar Tree knock-off ‘oppa’ for these white b*tches that can’t tell the difference between your doorknob of a face and whatever Asian celebrity they got their eyes on,” she said in a video response to Kim’s TikTok.
Acuario’s main issue with Kim’s video was his comment towards understanding what it’s like for Asian women to be fetishized. While Kim’s video shows fetishization as something to be desired, Acuario argues that it was precisely that which caused the death of six Asian women in the Atlanta shootings in March.
“The truth is, we never counted on Asian men for support,” she ends with.
On Saturday, both Kim’s original video and Acuario’s reaction drew further attention when it was shared by Danielle Lavirgo, a Black woman creator who appeared to agree with Acuario. With over 450,000 likes and 9,000 comments, the video sparked further discussion on intersectionality as many other women of color found Kim’s message to reflect deeper issues within their respective communities.
“SOOO it’s is [sic] ALL men of color?” reads one of the top comments.
“So basically MOC [men of color] are trying to gain proximity to YT [white] supremacy and think putting down their women is the answer?!?” reads another.