Boston Herald Faces Backlash for Using ‘Wok Tall’ on Magazine Cover

The Boston Herald on Thursday used an offensive photoshopped cover image with the words “Wok Tall,” upsetting many Asian Americans.

An article written by Joe Dwinwell, senior editor at the Herald, and reporter Mary Markos details the Chinese takeout order made by House Speaker Robert DeLeo for Beacon Hills staffers in April which cost $4,745 and was paid for using the House’s taxpayer-funded credit card.

A photoshopped cover art captioned “Wok Tall” features Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker standing in a takeout container of fried rice and a fortune cookie beside it that reads: “taxpayers will not be happy.”

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According to Boston Magazine, the image caused anger within the Asian American community.

Michelle Wu, the first Asian American woman to serve on Boston’s city council, raised her concerns, saying that the “offensive and irresponsible” cover art promotes stereotypes that mock Asian Americans.

“The Herald should recognize the harmful impact of using racially charged images and take responsibility, especially because for children of color, every mockery can create anxiety and undermine what all our kids deserve—to feel that they truly belong in this country and community they call home,” Wu wrote in her statement posted on Twitter.

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The 34-year-old politician noted that she had a “direct conversation” with both Dwinnell and the Herald’s Editor-in-Chief, Joe Sciacca. They both reportedly “expressed an understanding of the importance of words and images.”

However, the cover art remains up on the Herald’s website as well as other posts by Sciacca’s and Dwinell’s Twitter account.

In a follow-up story written by Dwinnell, Sciacca was quted as saying, “The front page was purely a reference to Chinese food. But when a concern is raised that the words or images we use are hurtful, we do need to listen and apologize.”

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Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0), Twitter / wutrain

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