A Chinese American chef running for city council in Lexington, Kentucky, is speaking out against a campaign against his candidacy, which has called the new politician a “communist.”
Dan Wu, 48, who finished second in the May primary, claims in an opinion piece in the Lexington Herald-Leader that two photos of him resurfaced on social media along with accusations he has communist ties.
In a post Wu shared on Facebook, the first-time politician said, “Things are heating up,” just a few weeks before the midterm elections.
The first photo was reportedly taken seven years ago at an army surplus store where he saw a Soviet Union flag in-person for the first time.
“I had never seen one in real life,” Wu, whose family immigrated from China to Fargo, North Dakota, and later to Lexington, wrote. “I thought it would be funny juxtaposed with my t-shirt of the Lying Cat, which is a character from a graphic novel I really like. So as a goof I took what I thought was a silly picture.”
He says the second photo was taken nine years ago.
“I am wearing a shirt called the Video Game Revolution,” Wu continued. “It is an upraised fist composed of lots of small video game controllers, cause I like video games. The best part about this picture is that whoever took it, they cropped it out. As you can see from the full, unedited photo, I am on stilts. It’s a silly picture and whoever cropped this picture knew it was silly.”
According to the Herald-Leader, the candidate with the most votes in the May primary becomes the vice mayor, while candidates in second and third place will serve as at-large members for the next four years.
Wu, who is also an advocate for immigrants and refugees, says landing in the top three may have led to the photos and rumors making rounds online.
He said in an interview that the photos resurfaced back in June, and the accusations came up again recently in an email sent to Mayor Linda Gorton and the 15-member council.
“I am not a communist, nor have I ever been a communist,” Wu wrote on Facebook. “This attempt to discredit and slander me is pretty ridiculous and pretty silly and pretty desperate. And it’s also offensive because my family and I came here from a communist country, we escaped a communist country. We came from China to the United States in the ‘80s when I was just a kid to make a better life for ourselves. So to now accuse me of being a communist is downright offensive to me and my family.”
NextShark has reached out to Wu’s campaign for further comment.
Featured Image via DanWuForLex