An online gathering of Asian American women and allies, including actress Olivia Munn, aimed to tackle anti-Asian hate but was interrupted by racist Zoombombing.
The “Newsroom” and “X-Men: Apocalypse” star posted on Instagram that she and a group of Asian American women were hosting a virtual Lunar New Year event on Monday about “how to stop anti-Asian hate” when the gathering was “targeted by a zoom bombing of horrific, violent, racially charged images and audio.”
The gathering was shut down after the Zoombomber shared vulgar images and anti-Asian hate speech, but the discussion resumed 15 minutes later with attendees rejoining the conversation, a National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum spokesperson told NextShark.
NAPAWF’s executive director Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Priscilla Tsai of Cocokind and Amy Liu of Tower 28 Beauty, as well as the Asian American Girl Club and more than 100 AAPI creators, were all present for the event.
“We were communing to celebrate, elevate and protect the AAPI community and we were subjected to a hate crime in real time,” Munn continued to say. “It was a cowardly and unconscionable act.”
She said the Zoombomber “momentarily disrupted” the gathering, but that it didn’t stop the group’s conversation.
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Choimorrow said she is not surprised that communities discussing racism and misogyny would be targeted by Zoombombing.
“Even in a space created by us and for us, the very things we were talking about happened while we talked about it,” she added. “There is so much work that still needs to be done and unfortunately it often falls on the back of women of color. But we will not let the hate directed at us deter us from building our collective power as AAPI women.”
Tsai, who was also the organizer of the virtual gathering, explained that there needs to be more spaces for AAPIs.
“The only way I know how to get through it and process what happened is through community,” she said. “We are all AAPI leaders and this is the perfect example of us needing to make space for each other. And for us to really make a pledge that we are not going to be silent. We’re not going to let something like this happen to us and retreat.”
Liu expressed the same sentiments about the importance of advocating for each other and different communities.
“We came together with such great intentions and ended up becoming victims of hate. But we will fight back and we will hold space again,” she said.
“Cheap tactics like these won’t stop our quest for equality, equity and to stop Asian hate,” Munn wrote in her post, calling the act “cowardly and unconscionable.”
She told event attendees in an Instagram story, “We are so sorry to have gone through this traumatic experience together. We are here for you, as you are here for us.”
Munn further shared ways on how to help fight anti-Asian hate, including donating to NAPAWF and supporting small Asian-owned businesses.
Munn has been vocal about the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the country brought about, most often than not, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These hate crimes have spiked since Covid and continue to increase even though we ask for help, even though we ask our fellow Americans to be out raged for us, even though we ask for more mainstream media coverage,” the actress said in a previous Instagram post.
“To simply exist as a minority in this country is seen as a protest to some,” Munn continued. “We need help amplifying the outrage. We need help to feel safe in our country. We need help to be safe in our country.”