HomeChinese AmericanCousin of Vincent Chin responds to podcast controversy

Cousin of Vincent Chin responds to podcast controversy

A cousin of Vincent Chin revealed Wednesday that she’s spoken to the producers of Hold Still, Vincent Chin for the first time since the podcast has been disabled.

Chin’s death in 1982 galvanized the Asian American community at the hands of two unemployed auto workers who blamed Chin for being unemployed because Japan stole their jobs.

Producers put their project on hold after it became known no one from A Major Media contacted the family or activist Helen Zia prior to its release.

“After public outcry and backlash, I was contacted by the podcast producer Mary Lee Saturday night 5/29 right before A Major Media announced it would disable the podcast temporarily,” Tan wrote in her blog. “Gemma Chan reached out 6/1 as well.”

She told them nearly 40 years later, the murder remains traumatic to the family. Many refuse to talk about the murder because they don’t want to be re-traumatized.

“Journalists over many decades have hounded my family for more sob stories, specifically from Lily Chin, my great-auntie, may she rest in power, who already gave so much of her labor, gave press photographs that have still not been returned to my family, was constantly reminded by the cameras of her dead son Vincent, and, after our family lost the last trial, moved to China. How do you trust others to tell Vincent’s story after all that? I said my family doesn’t speak of Vincent’s murder because it hurts us all too much. However, many times, even against my family’s wishes, I have spoken publicly about Vincent.”

She considers the title Hold Still, Vincent Chin inappropriate given that his killers held him down while beating him with a baseball bat. She said fictionalized scenes in the podcast of the beating of lion dance drums while her cousin is being killed may not have happened had the producers talked to the family first.

Despite that, she said she would not block the podcasts release because she wants her cousin’s story told. Yet she still feels resentment that the family was not given the respect of being contacted.

“As a storyteller, I know seeking truth is hard and takes time and labor. But if we’re to tell the stories that matter with integrity, we have to do the work, and that means reaching out to those most impacted,” she concluded. I implore the producers and writers of the podcast to apologize with the truth of what happened and make amends with integrity. I hope Hollywood and storytellers everywhere take this lesson on what diversity, representation, and stories should and should not look like.”

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  1. Thank you for the cousin’s response. She is absolutely correct. We storytellers, the authentic oral tradition of storytelling – not film, not books, not directors, etc. – but story TELLERS, demand thorough research and demand permission at all times to tell another’s story. Of course there are always those, in every profession, that don’t heed this ethics code … but Gemma is speaking power here. Thank you!


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