(Editors Note: This post has been updated with a comment from LA Metro.)
An Asian American woman was racially harassed by a fellow passenger on the Metro train in the North Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles on Monday afternoon.
Jeanne Heo captured the incident on camera and posted it on her Facebook page, which went viral before being taken down.
“This guy approached me on the metro asking if I was American and if I spoke English, to which I replied yes and then ignored him. When exiting the metro he asks me, ‘Where are your genetics from, do you happen to be from Korea?’ I asked him, ‘Why do you wanna know?’ and then immediately he went on to reveal his racist agenda. This happened in Noho, and luckily two guys punched this fucker and a woman walked with me to where I was going. NOT FUCKING TODAY SATAN.”
The incident happened close to 12 p.m. at the North Hollywood metro station. Heo told NextShark that she has no idea why she was targeted.
“I was resting my eyes on the train,” she said.
“Once the train got near the stop, I woke up and saw this man standing in front of me near the exit a few feet away. He shouts from across the seats, ‘Are you tired? You look sleepy.’ I don’t respond and then he asks me “Do you speak English, are you American?
“I annoyingly said yes and ignored him. I exited the station and looked on my phone for directions. This man sits at a bench in front of me and starts to asking me questions again. This time he asks where my genetics are from, if I happen to be from Korea. I reply, ‘Why do you want to know?’ Then his tone changes to aggressive and says, ‘Was just curious, you don’t have to be a bitch about it.’ I took out my phone and turned on my camera because I got kind of scared.”
Two other men, who have yet to be identified, were also in the same car as Heo and saw the drama unfold. As they were hurling insult at each other, one of the men walked up to the perpetrator and punched him. After that, the two men walked away and a Good Samaritan walked Heo to her destination.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first racist incident Heo has encountered in her life.
“I have experienced racism right here in liberal LA,” she said.
“The last incident was during the holidays, I was leaving Whole Foods and accidentally hit the bumper of the car in front of me. The man got out of his car and looked at me and shouted, ‘Oh it’ll be easy to report you, you’re Asian.’ I also work at a Chinese restaurant and some of the customers say dumb shit like, ‘Are you the manager’s sister?’ — micro aggressions.”
Understandably, Heo felt a lot of anger after the incident, but notes that she didn’t post the video to spread hate, but to empower others to protect themselves.
“When this incident happened, I was filled with rage. I wanted to immediately hate White people and lump all White people with this racist fool. But I knew that wasn’t it. And doing that would be doing exactly what this guy did with me; lumping all Asians together. This isn’t about White people vs. POC. It’s easy to spin this to be about Trump supporters vs. liberals, and it’s not about that either. This is about ignorance and hate. And ignorance and hate are in all groups, all races, all parties. I shared this post publicly to empower others to stand up for themselves and intentionally didn’t mention the race of anyone involved or my political views.”
Comments under the Facebook video have been overwhelmingly in support of Heo.
“I am so glad that you are safe and that there are people who were there with you. That is some serious bullshit, coming from that dude. Disgusting,” one person wrote.
“It’s unfortunate and amazing how uneducated and ignorant people can be in today’s digital world full of news and social media attention that highlight dumb ass behavior like this,” another wrote. “But I guess the real dumb ones just stay stupid. I’m sure it’s related to deeper issues. Glad he just punched out tho!”
NextShark reached out to LA Metro who provided this statement:
“We have submitted your post with video to our System Security and Law Enforcement department at Metro. Metro does not condone nor tolerate this type of disrespectful behavior on our transit properties. Everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, creed, or other protected status, should always be treated with respect. We encourage transit patrons to report these incidents to Metro Customer Care or law enforcement for investigation. For threats to public safety on the Metro system, customers should call Transit Watch at (888) 950-SAFE.”
Have you experienced this before too? Let us know in the comments!