An Asian American advocate seeking election for an at-large seat of the Lexington City Council in Kentucky is shrouded in controversy, with allegations of being a communist.
Photos of chef and political newcomer Dan Wu, 48, have been circulating online. According to Wu’s opinion piece in the Lexington Herald-Leader, he believes that someone threatened by his poll results could be behind the false narrative.
“I am not a Communist. In my 48 years of life, 40 of them spent living in the United States, I never thought I had to utter these words,” Wu wrote.
The article revealed that the two photos in question were taken from Wu’s social media accounts as part of a smear campaign against him. Per the report, the first online photo is seven years old and shows Wu standing in front of a Soviet flag.
The second photo was from nine years ago. Wu claims that the shirt he wore in the photograph was called Video Game Revolution, an illustrated fist made up of several video game controllers. The second photo being circulated is cropped, according to Wu.
He adds that the manipulated image conveys a very different meaning to those who see it. “The whole picture is ridiculous and silly and the people who cropped it knew it,” Wu wrote in his piece.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Wu first found out about the photos in June, then it made its rounds again this fall. Wu recently revealed that an anonymous email, with the images attached, was sent directly to Mayor Linda Gorton and the 15-member council.
Wu vehemently denies his association with Communism, citing that his family left China to escape it. He went on to say that the issue is racist and offensive.
“But beneath it lies a virulent strain of racism and xenophobia, however subtle or subconscious. My family and I immigrated from China in the 80s, when I was just a kid,” Wu wrote. “We came to the United States to escape Communism and make a better life for ourselves here. It’s the quintessential American story. To be accused of being a Communist is downright offensive to me and my family.”
Wu is on the ballot in the general election in November. As part of his advocacy, he has created video campaigns such as “I am a Kentuckian” and “Immigrants & Refugees Belong Here” to highlight diversity and immigration issues in the country.
Wu hopes his work as an advocate for immigrants and refugees will push him over the edge to winning a seat in the council.
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