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Filipino American called “kung flu” by angry couple

A Filipino American’s encounter with an angry White couple in St. Petersburg, Florida both outraged and stunned him.

Josh Tolentino, a sports reporter who covers the Tampa Bay Rays, wrote about his encounter on Twitter, saying they called him “kung flu” several times and told him to “go back to China” and mocked him for wearing a mask.

“It was a disgusting moment that I haven’t stopped thinking about. Racism is still very much prevalent in our country, and now is the time to have these uncomfortable conversations,” he said.

Tolentino said he debated with himself whether to go public with his experience and decided to do so only after talking to his mentors.

“What I want to shed more light on is the awareness of it,” Tolentino said to Patch. “In the Asian culture, we’re taught to be quiet, but stuff like this has been happening for too long to Asians and Blacks, and we must start speaking up.”

Pinnellas County recently mandated the wearing of masks in public, and the couple became angry when they weren’t allowed into the grocery store without their masks. That’s when Tolentino happened to be walking out of the Publix Market.

“They were upset that they couldn’t get in, and saw an Asian American coming out and started yelling at me,” he said to Patch.

His Twitter posts has received more than 6,000 likes and nearly 2,000 mostly supportive comments.

“We always got your back Josh. Thank you for sharing. It’s proof we still have a long way to go in society,” someone wrote.

“I’m so sorry you had to deal with those bigots, Josh. Proud to call you a coworker.” wrote another.

“This is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this, Josh,” said yet another.

“I stand with my Black brothers and sisters right now. As human beings, we should all be uniting in fighting racism. It’s crucial to understand the history or racism people of color have experienced for far too long. It’s something that’s incredibly important in recognizing that what’s happening in our country isn’t a moment, but a continued fight for hundreds of years.”

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