HomeHmong AmericanGold medalist Suni Lee pepper-sprayed in anti-Asian attack

Gold medalist Suni Lee pepper-sprayed in anti-Asian attack

Her hometown of St. Paul, MN has thrown a parade for her. She’s won a gold medal in the women’s all-around competition for Team USA. She’s even competing on Dancing with the Stars.

None of that made her immune from being told to “go back to where you came from,” something so many Asian Americans have been told.

Lee told Pop Sugar it happened during a night out with friends recently in Los Angeles. Her friends happened to be Asian Americans. She said they were waiting for their Uber when a group speeding by in their cars screamed out “Ching Chong” along with the “go back” refrain.

One passenger even pepper-sprayed her. Fortunately, the chemical did not hit her face-only her arm.

“I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off,” she said. “I didn’t do anything to them, and having the reputation, it’s so hard because I didn’t want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen.”

Imagine what would have happened to Lee if she had been caught on camera throwing a rock and screaming expletives. The headlines could potentially have ruined her reputation, let alone her career.

Lee isn’t the only Asian American on Team USA who’s been a victim of an anti-Asian attack.

In April, a man berated Team USA’s Sakura Kokumai who played on the karate team.

“There was no racial slurs at the beginning,” Ms. Kokumai said in an ABC7 report, “but as he got into his car he would yell out ‘Chinese’ and ‘Sashimi’ and then I was like OK there it is.”

The harassment happened as she tried to train for the upcoming games in a park in Orange, CA.

Weeks later, police arrested Michael Vivona, 25, in that attack and a similar one against an elderly Asian American couple.

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