“The Real” co-host Jeannie Mai Jenkins has issued an apology after making a remark that sparked backlash on social media.
At the beginning of the program, Kim asked audience members to use two hashtags on their social media posts: #VisibleTogether and #AANHPIHM, with the latter including the initials for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.
Jenkins, however, suggested using the hashtag #AsianHeritageMonth instead, saying that no one would remember the “AANHPIHM” initials.
The comment immediately drew criticism online from Pacific Islanders and Native Americans who felt their cultures were being erased during a month meant to celebrate the diversity of the AANHPI community.
Many viewers expressed disappointment and frustration on social media.
“Seems to me she tried to be funny but didn’t realize the ignorance of such a comment, nor how a native people such as ourselves were nearly wiped out from [sic] colonizers who believed they were better than us and repressed our culture, our language and killed us with their diseases,” wrote a Twitter user.
“Ugh she’s also from the Bay Area where there’s a substantial amount of Pacific Islanders and I was such a fan of hers,” said another.
In response to the backlash, Jenkins took to Instagram to apologize for her remark, saying that it was never her intention to exclude Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
It was an invaluable learning experience for me. While hosting I suggested an easier hashtag inadvertently excluding Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, which was never my intention. Apologies to those I hurt. I’m grateful for the conversations with friends and colleagues to better understand the history and struggles of our communities. Incredibly thankful to continue learning & growing.
While some commenters appeared to accept her apology, others expressed further disappointment.
“As someone who has followed you for years Jeannie and is of Native Hawaiian and P.I heritage, I understand it was a mistake,” one commenter wrote. “It seemed out of character for you to genuinely exclude someone or someone’s race as you’ve always shown yourself to be such a genuine gal that’s why I’ve been a fan! I hope you continue to learn and grow from this, as well as everyone else, we all make mistakes.”
“Girl bye…. Right before this event, you posted how you were just informed and ‘taught’ by your Hawaiian friend about the history of our people,” another commented. “And even then, you still only thought about yourself. Find another platform sis.”
“What a pathetic apology, sounds like a PR stunt to try not to get canceled. So, ‘apologies’ NOT accepted,” said another.