Nebraska Mayor Sparks Outrage After Mocking Korean Name on Facebook
By Bryan Ke
June 3, 2020
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with a public apology from Mayor Jean Stothert.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert called out a social media user for using their Korean name to hide behind “symbols.”
Stothert left a comment directed at Korean American Facebook user Soyeon Sohn and accused her of being an online troll, according to WOWT.
“A Facebook troll who hides behind symbols and doesn’t list their name, is a coward,” the mayor wrote.
Sohn struggled with her cultural identity for years, she told WOWT. She was adopted by a family from Hastings, Nebraska when she was four months old.
“I was caught off guard more than anything. A public official making that statement publicly on her own Facebook page degrading a citizen that’s just uncalled for and unprofessional,” Sohn said.
“In a post that provided the text of the Emergency Order currently in effect in Omaha, the Mayor and others responded to a comment that she is not showing leadership and is a coward,” the statement reads. “This was one of several comments made by someone using characters to identify himself or herself.”
Sohn wants the mayor to step down from her position, she said following the statement.
“You had the chance to make it right. But instead, you chose to say this violated your terms and conditions of your page,” she said. “You had the chance to apologize and you didn’t.”
However, a representative from Stothert’s office said she won’t be stepping down from her post. Her legal team declared Sohn as a troll, saying that she often starts arguments in the comment section.
Stothert has since apologized during a news conference on Wednesday.
“I referred to her not using her name because I saw these symbols, or letter, but they were Korean. In no way did I mean to insult her heritage,” Stothert said.
Stothert said she also sent an apology to the Korean Association of Nebraska and that she reached out to the president of the Korean Association of Nebraska. They will reportedly have a meeting on Friday, according to KETV.
Feature Images via @jeanformayor
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