NYU Professor Accuses Nikkei Asia of ‘Misquoting’ Him After Denying Widespread Anti-Asian Sentiment

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A professor of politics at New York University has accused a reporter with Nikkei Asia of “misquoting” him in an article that sought his opinion on anti-Asian attacks.

David Denoon, director of the university’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, reportedly asked for a retraction of his comments but was allegedly turned down by the reporter in question.

The article: On April 7, Nikkei Asia published an article that quoted Denoon’s position on the recent surge in anti-Asian attacks.

  • The article was penned by staff writers Marrian Zhou and Alex Fang.
  • In it, Denoon was quoted as saying, “I do not believe there is widespread anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. In fact, the competence and industriousness of many ethnic Asians is frequently admired.”
  • The professor reportedly pointed out that Asian Americans and Asian immigrants earn “substantially more” and do better on many standardized tests than average Americans.
  • According to the article, Denoon also stated that claims of racism are fiction hyped by the Chinese Communist Party to distract the public from its own abysmal human rights record.
  • “Claims of widespread anti-[Asian] sentiment in the U.S. are either misinformed or attempts to create ethnic friction,” Denoon reportedly added. “Just because a small minority of Americans make claims about anti-Asian sentiment, and these are repeated by senior Chinese government leaders, does not make these claims balanced or accurate statements.”

Alleged misquotation: In an email to Washington Square News (WSN), Denoon confirmed that he told Marrian Zhou he did not believe in a widespread anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. However, he accused the writer of misquoting him and completely fabricating a sentence.

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  • Denoon confirmed that he stated Asian Americans and Asian immigrants earn more and score better in tests than average Americans. This shows they have access to high-status education and high-paying jobs, which supports his belief that there is no widespread anti-Asian sentiment.
  • However, Denoon accused Zhou of misrepresenting him. “Ms. Zhou of Nikkei Asia did more than misquote me; she completely fabricated a sentence which made me appear to be inattentive to the issues you raise,” he told WSN.
  • Denoon did not specify any quotes. Instead, he focused his criticism on “paraphrasing by the reporters amid extensive quotes,” according to WSN.
  • “Journalists have no right to substitute their own wording and leave readers with the impression they are providing direct quotes,” Denoon told WSN in a second email. The professor reportedly refused to share a copy of the interview with the outlet.
  • Denoon’s printed quotes have since been denounced by fellow academics at NYU. “It’s unsettling … that somebody who not only is a professor at NYU, but who runs the Center on U.S.-China Relations, seems so uninformed about the politics of anti-Asian violence,” one anonymous professor told WSN. “This has been discussed at the highest levels of government. Joe Biden, the president of the United States, has spoken out against the rise in anti-Asian violence.”

Nikkei Asia has responded to Denoon’s claims and is standing by their article. Executive Editor Christopher Grimes told WSN the quotes are entirely accurate.

“The quotes are verbatim. We stand by these quotes, and feel strongly that we’ve accurately reflected the professor’s sentiment here,” Grimes told the outlet.

Nikkei Asia has not released a copy of their interview with Denoon either but confirmed that the professor had sent his quotes on March 29.

Feature Image Screenshot via NYU Center on U.S.-China Relations

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