Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include a statement from a Northwestern University Athletics spokesperson.
A TikTok video of a Wisconsin Badgers fan directing the slant-eye gesture at a group of Northwestern students has gone viral, with many commenters calling out the spectator for his “embarrassing” display of racism.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night at Welsh-Ryan Fieldhouse, where the Badgers won against the Northwestern Wildcats, 82-76.
But the mood between one Wisconsin fan and Northwestern students turned sour after he was seen “chirping,” or insulting, the group by making slant-eye gestures and giving them the middle finger, which was caught on video.
The gesture produced an audible shocked reaction from the students, who appear to be of Asian descent, as well as the person behind the camera. The spectator can be seen a few seconds later in the video being escorted out by athletics staff, but not before continuing to do the slant-eye gesture.
“Oh, he’s still doing it!” the person behind the camera is heard saying as the fan walks out of the event.
Northwestern student Kirsten Lee shared a TikTok video from her point of view of the incident.
“Was excited to go to my first NU basketball game!” she wrote. “And then this man started being racist to me and the group of Asian guys sitting behind me.”
TikTok users quickly slammed the Badgers fan, with one of the commenters adding: “If you have to result [sic] to racism you already lost.”
“Bro that was a grown up at a college game embarrassing,” one user wrote.
“How to risk losing your career and respect from your friends and family in 30 seconds or less,” another commented.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s athletics department told NextShark in a statement: “We are deeply disturbed by this behavior and find it abhorrent & disgusting.
This is no representation of what it means to be a Badger. We denounce any acts of racism or discrimination. We applaud Northwestern for removing this individual. His actions have no place at our events.”
In a statement to NextShark, a Northwestern University Athletics spokesperson commended university police and event management staff for how they handled the incident.
“Northwestern explicitly prohibits any and all forms of discrimination and harassment of students, coaches, staff, officials, or guests,” the spokesperson said. “The actions by an individual at Tuesday’s men’s basketball game towards the Northwestern student section were unacceptable and a violation of University values and our fan code of conduct. We appreciate the individuals who spoke up and brought this behavior to our attention so event staff could take the appropriate action to remove him from the venue and ban him from attending any future Northwestern Athletics events. Our Athletics department has been in contact with University of Wisconsin officials as they investigate the issue further.”