Bryan Le, aka RiceGum, has defended himself amid waves of criticism directed at his recent video of “joking around” Hong Kong.
In the six-minute video, the Asian American YouTuber can be seen asking locals where to eat cats and dogs, “where the hoes at” and whether massage services offered “happy endings.”
The video, posted on June 12, immediately sparked furor on social media, with many calling it insensitive and disrespectful. Some even called him a “racist.”
On June 26, he published a follow-up video, telling fans that he has been receiving a plethora of comments written in Chinese.
Apparently, he discovered that his Hong Kong video was republished on a certain Chinese social network, where he did not understand a thing.
“I figured it out, man. Something like YouTube, Twitter-alternative social media in China posted my video. That one video where I was vlogging around in China you know, just, having a little bit of fun joking around, you know?
“Some guy took my video and put subtitles in it and I don’t know what they’re saying.”
RiceGum can be seen looking at a copy of the video on Miaopai, where he translated its headline and got a loose translation that reads, “Looking for ‘prostitutes’ on Hong Kong street, this Asian-American red video insults China’s anger.”
“Whoever wrote this or translated this … dude you need to be fired or something because you know the English slang.
“When I said ‘Where the hoes at? Where my bitches at? Do you guys have a thot here?’ I was joking because it’s like such a random question to ask like an elderly person, you know what I’m saying?
“And then two, in America it’s like slang like in the hiphop and rap music. Thots and hoes and bitches, it’s like girls, not actual prostitutes.”
It is widely known that online translations operate on translation programs and not an actual human service — a program is typically not able to discern slang from literal meanings.
He then argued that he cannot actually ask for prostitutes for having children in his audience.
“Did you guys not know like I have a children … big following that I would definitely not be seriously asking for prostitutes in the broad daylight.”
RiceGum also took notice of the video’s view count and surprised himself when it racked up 7.8 million views — twice that of the original version he posted on YouTube.
“Right here is a 780, ching chang chong you know, I don’t know what it’s saying [but] you translate it…
“You’re telling me something I took my hardwork and content and just reposted it got more views than my actual video.
“It’s like where’s the money going because someone’s benefiting from this. And it’s definitely not me.”
He then read translations of several Chinese and English comments down the video:
“Ugly face is annoying.”
“Obviously it is a mental retardation.”
“Should grab its hair and kick it against his face!”
“This kind of dog will only dare to go to Hong Kong and come to a mainland. It will never return to the United States in this life.”
“Damn, I’ll hire a killer to put him to pieces!”
RiceGum, who is widely believed to be Vietnamese American, thought that Chinese netizens were also mad about his “other actions,” such as asking where to eat cats and dogs.
He justified how he thought it was okay for him to make jokes on stereotypes because he was also “Chinese.”
“Guys, Chinese people that are hating on me right now, you know I’m Chinese also, right?
“I watch other black comedians make jokes about black stereotypes, white people make white jokes and Hispanic people make Hispanic jokes.
“I thought since I was Asian, I was allowed to make these Asian stereotype jokes.”
RiceGum also challenged “whoever stole” his content to translate his apology.
“I’m sorry to all the Chinese people. It will never happen again. Sorry for being ‘disrespectful.’ I wasn’t looking for prostitutes.
“I wanna come back soon but I’m scared now because people out there might hit me and beat me up and stuff. Tell them I’m sorry so I can come back.”
RiceGum, who also gave out a half-eaten ice cream to a reluctant stranger, ended his video retaliating on another YouTuber who called the act “bullying.”
“Cry me a river bro, who’s bullying who? Not me. Are you really gonna be mad about this? If anything we should be bullying you.”