A vehicle registered in California with the license plate “ASN FLU” has sparked outrage after its photo was shared on social media last week.
The SUV, which was photographed on the road, had a Trump sticker on its rear window above the plate.
Throughout his term since the onset of COVID-19, former President Donald Trump routinely blamed China for “unleashing” COVID-19 to the world.
In his rhetoric, peddled by other Republican officials, Trump referred to COVID-19 using terms such as “China virus,” “Chinese virus,” “Chinese flu” and “Kung Flu,” seemingly dismissing the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s calls that the disease be identified without attaching locations or ethnicity.
Throughout the pandemic, attacks against Asian Americans have increased, with national coalition Stop AAPI Hate reporting nearly 3,800 cases between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021.
A surge in these attacks has made headlines in the past several weeks, including the arrest of a 27-year-old man who assaulted three Asian Americans in New York in just one month.
In a statement to AsAm News, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) confirmed that the application for the license in question was approved in 2006.
However, the agency was unable to explain why it granted the license, since the application is no longer available.
“The DMV currently does not have the authority to cancel this type of plate due to the court ruling in the Ogilvie case,” a DMV spokesperson told the outlet.
In November, a U.S. District Court ruled that the DMV cannot ban what it considers “offensive to good taste and decency” due to the First Amendment.
ok twitter, so I filed a Public Records Act request for rejected vanity plates in CA. I spent *days* combing through the documents, which show the applicant’s intended meaning and the DMV’s comments. My abs still hurt. Bonus plates in thread. @LAmag https://t.co/h3Z0I71X7w
— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) March 28, 2019
AsAm News said the agency is currently evaluating its options and more information may be provided soon.
For now, it is understood that the owner of the vehicle faces no repercussions.
“People like this aren’t just ignorant, but they actively spread hate. Hate which has led to the surge in violence against Asians,” an Instagram user wrote.
“If you know someone who thinks this is OK, please say something. Let’s stand together, educate those that will listen and embrace those that support.”
Feature Image via Facebook