Asian American NASCAR driver Kyle Larson responds to Denny Hamlin’s Asian stereotype meme

Kyle Larson Denny Hamlin
  • Asian American NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, 29, said he was not “personally offended” by the Asian stereotype meme that fellow race car driver Denny Hamlin posted last week.
  • “I wasn’t personally offended by it… but I know, and I think he knows now, there are millions of other people that a tweet like that could offend,” Larson, whose mother is Japanese American, told Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass at the Dover Motor Speedway on Saturday. “No hard feelings from me. But I think after you put something out there, you realize how offensive it can be."
  • Hamlin, 41, drew controversy after sharing an Asian stereotype meme from "Family Guy" to make light of a crash that Larson caused during the Geico 500 race at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24.
  • Hamlin said he respects NASCAR’s recent decision to have him undergo sensitivity training.
  • “Someone gave [the meme] to me and I thought it was hilarious. But it also is insensitive," Hamlin told Pockrass. “I definitely understand how some people could find it offensive. And if it's one, then it's one too many."

Asian American NASCAR driver Kyle Larson revealed he was not offended by the Asian stereotype meme that fellow race car driver Denny Hamlin tweeted last week.

Speaking to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass at the Dover Motor Speedway on Saturday, Larson, a 29-year-old racer under the Hendrick Motorsports team, said he was not “personally offended” by his friend’s tweet.

I wasn’t personally offended by it … but I know, and I think he knows now, there are millions of other people that a tweet like that could offend,” Larson, whose mother is Japanese American, told Pockrass. “No hard feelings from me. But I think after you put something out there, you realize how offensive it can be.”

Earlier in the interview, Larson said that what happened was “poor judgment” on Hamlin’s part, further explaining that “being in the position that we’re in, you have to be very careful with what you put out in the public.”

I know he’ll learn a lot here these next couple of weeks, and I think we’re all just ready to move past it and get back focused on racing,” he added.

Hamlin, 41, drew controversy after sharing a clip on April 25 with a scene from a “Family Guy” episode that depicts an Asian woman driving recklessly. He reportedly posted the meme to make light of the incident that Larson caused at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24.

During the Geico 500 race, Larson cut abruptly to the outside, causing Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace – both members of 23XI Racing, a NASCAR team that Hamlin co-owns – to crash in the process.

Hamlin eventually took down his tweet and apologized. NASCAR also stepped in and ordered the race car driver to undergo sensitivity training, much like what it did to Larson in October 2020 when he was caught saying the “n-word.”

Speaking to Pockrass, Hamlin said he respects NASCAR’s decision.

Someone gave [the meme] to me and I thought it was hilarious. But it also is insensitive,” Hamlin told Pockrass. “I definitely understand how some people could find it offensive. And if it’s one, then it’s one too many.”

Feature Image via @bobpockrass

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