HomeBad Ass AsiansThe Root: Station Apologizes to @julieChen for Remarks
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The Root: Station Apologizes to @julieChen for Remarks

Julie ChenA television station in Dayton, Ohio has apologized to CBS television host Julie Chen for comments made to her by the station’s news director in 1995, according to a post by Richard Prince in the blog, The Root.

The remark came up during Chen’s day time gabfest, The Talk, during which Chen revealed she had surgery done on her eyelids after her news director at WDTN-TV told her she would never be accepted by the audience.

“Let’s face it, Julie, how relatable are you to our community?”, Chen quoted her boss as saying.  “How big of an Asian community do we really have here in Dayton? Our audience can’t relate to you because you are not like them.”

Joe Abouzeid, president and general manager of  WDTN and WBDT , released the following statement.

We are sorry to hear about what happened to CBS’ Julie Chen in 1995 when she was a reporter at WDTN-TV. The station was under different management and ownership during that time. At WDTN and WBDT, we don’t tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.’

WDTN is now owned by LIN Media. It was owned by the Hearst Corporation when Chen worked there. . . .

I suspect comments like that have been experienced by a lot more Asian American journalists than Chen. Although I have never worked on the air as a television reporter, a news director once made equally hurtful comments to me when he offered to fly me in to Green Bay, Wisconsin for a job as a news producer.

The news director in the 1980’s was talking to me on the phone trying to sell all the wonderful virtues of his community. Among the many attributes he listed was the fact that Green Bay had no minorities.

I wondered at the time if he recognized my Asian American surname. It didn’t matter. Although it would have been fun to see his jaw drop when I walked into his office,  I declined the offer to be interviewed.

Chen’s revelation has generated a discussion on Asian eyelid surgery and some of the obstacles faced by Asian American journalists.

You can read more about that in The Root.


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