NZ real estate agent warned for using fake Asian accent in sales pitch

NZ real estate agent warned for using fake Asian accent in sales pitch
via Linh Yee
Ryan General
March 13, 2024
An Auckland real estate agent of Asian descent has been formally warned by her employer for posting a TikTok video in which she used a fake Asian accent and offered domestic services to potential homebuyers.
Key points:
  • Linh Yee, an award-winning agent for Australasia real estate group Ray White, posted a video of herself marketing a property while using an exaggerated Asian accent and offering to clean and cook.
  • The video circulated for over a week before a complaint that it perpetuated harmful stereotypes of Asian women led to its removal, reported NZ Herald.
  • Yee apologized, saying she intended it as humor but now recognizes it was culturally insensitive.
The details:
  • In the controversial video, Yee called herself “Lingling” and said, “You pay me good price, I also get dirty for you, see — I clean.” She also offered to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for buyers. The video ended with Yee saying “love you long time,” a reference to a derogatory line from the movie “Full Metal Jacket.”
  • Her viral TikTok video was removed after an Auckland woman of Asian descent condemned Yee for proliferating “stereotypes against Southeast Asian women.”
  • Yee showcased her fluency in English without an accent in a separate video promoting a property in Sandringham, highlighting a stark contrast to her accent in the viral video.
  • In response to the backlash, Yee said she was “truly sorry,” adding, “Moving forward, I am committed to educating myself and being more mindful of the impact of my words and actions. I understand that words alone cannot undo the hurt caused, but I hope to demonstrate through my future behavior a genuine commitment to learning and growth.” 
  • Ray White Epsom director Nick Lyus confirmed that Yee received a formal warning, and the company, while not vetting all social media posts, emphasized its commitment to providing cultural sensitivity and anti-discrimination training to its employees.
Big picture: 
  • The incident underscores the broader conversation around addressing racism and promoting cultural understanding and respect in various spheres, including the real estate industry.
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