#StopAsianHate: Stars and citizens unite in anger on social media after Atlanta shootings

·4-min read
A 'Stop Asian Hate' protest was also held at Discovery Green in Houston, Texas, March 20.

Eight people, many of Asian origin, were killed in a shooting, Tuesday, March 16 in Atlanta, USA. Celebrities and citizens alike have been speaking out, expressing their anger and sorrow on social media. This anger has been amplified by the fact that the shooter denied any racist motive to the attacks. It proved a dual blow for the Asian community, which has been targeted by a growing number of attacks since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic.

Daniel Dae Kim ("Hawaii 5.0"), Mindy Kaling ("The Mindy Project"), Sarah Michelle Gellar and Olivia Munn are just some of the stars who have taken to social media to show their support for the Asian community after the deadly attack in Atlanta, USA. In response to the horrifying events, in which eight people were killed -- six of whom of Asian origin -- many celebrities have condemned the words of a Georgia sheriff who said that the shooter was having "a really bad day." Olivia Munn wrote on Twitter:

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Over the past year, attacks on the Asian community in the USA have been growing. So much so that Twitter took a stand by launching the #Stand ForAsians hashtag mid-February in a show of support for the community. Recently, a growing number of attacks -- notably targeting seniors of Asian origin -- led to a wave of support on social media. This anti-Asian hate has also been amplified by the covid-19 pandemic. According to a study from the University of California, San Francisco , Donald Trump referring to covid-19 as the "Chinese virus" saw an increase in the use of anti-Asian hashtags.

Bringing racist attacks to light

The Asian community isn't alone in talking about hate crimes, even if the shooter denies any racist motive. For the moment, the killer faces charges of murder and aggravated assault. While the shooter could already face the death penalty, even without the murders being classed as a hate crime, for many, qualifying the killings in this way is particularly important. In fact, it would shed light on the reality of what the Asian community has suffered over the last year. With 2.8 million followers, the actress Olivia Munn, shared a video sarcastically criticizing the decision of the Atlanta police not to consider the attacks as a hate crime.

Stars speak out on TikTok

On TikTok, the "StopAsianHate" hashtag has been used over 454.3 million times in videos. In some of the most-watched, the platform's key figures show their support for the Asian community and call for solidarity. Bella Poarch , for example -- one of the site's biggest stars with 59.7 million followers -- shared a more serious than usual video calling on her followers to take seriously these attacks on the Asian-American community, and especially its elders, and to pay attention to what's going on. The video has been watched more than 16.6 million times.

More used to creating humorous content, the influencer @yoleendadong -- who counts 10.9 million followers -- also shared her pain on the platform, lamenting the lack of media attention about the racist attacks suffered by the Asian community: "Ever since covid-19 started, people all over the world that looked like me were getting assaulted, attacked and murdered every single day. ... Please be aware what is going on and that the Asian community is holding on by a single thread right now." Her video has been watched more than 2.3 million times on the platform. TikTok has even set up a special "Stop Asian Hate" page, highlighting certain organizations fighting for greater justice and combating racism, like "Stop AAPI Hate" and "Hate is a Virus."

Beyond the internet, protests against anti-Asian hate continue in the US. Last Saturday, the award-winning actress Sandra Oh ("Killing Eve") made a surprise appearance at a "Stop Asian Hate" march in Pittsburgh. "For many of us in our community, this is the first time we are even able to voice our fear and our anger, and I really am so grateful for everyone willing to listen," she said during the gathering, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sabrina Alili