'Eternals' Star Gemma Chan Wants The Times to Apologize For Its 'Casual Racism'
Actress Gemma Chan recently took to her Instagram to shed light on the insensitive content published by The Times and demanded an official apology from the publication.
The Article Implied the British Public ‘Secretly Enjoyed’ Prince Philip’s Racist Remarks
The front-page article titled ‘Forced to mourn alone, the Queen bids Philip goodbye’ was published by The Times on April 18, 2021. The British newspaper released a tribute the day after Prince Philip’s funeral, implying that the public “secretly liked” some of the late Duke of Edinburgh’s racist and problematic remarks.
The news piece from Windsor was written by author Christina Lamb, who works as the paper’s Chief Foreign Correspondent. Regarding the late Duke, she wrote, “To her subjects, Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history — an often crotchety figure, offending people with gaffes about slitty eyes, even if secretly we rather enjoyed them.”
Lamb referred to racist remarks made by the Duke of Edinburgh during a 1986 visit to China when he told a British student that if he stayed much longer, “you’ll go home with slitty eyes.”
She isn’t the only member of the mass media to defend and dismiss Philip’s racially charged remarks directed at the ESEA (East and South-East Asia) group.
On BBC 5 Live’s Sunday Breakfast broadcast (April 11th, 2021), historian Robert Lacey repeated the sentiment. He said that everyone recalls the late Duke talking to British students in China, and there was an element of honesty and his willingness to laugh at some of the tough circumstances of life.
BBC host Eleanor Oldroyd cushioned the remark and said, “It’s the kind of comment now that we raise our eyebrows at in a huge way, but I suppose if you’re a man of 99, then you CAN say certain things.”
Since the article was released, many celebrities have expressed their disapproval of the matter through social media.
Chan Wants a Public Apology from The Times
Crazy Rich Asians actress Chan was also one of them. She took to her Instagram to express her disappointment towards the publication house and the writer. Sharing a series of pictures that showed the racist remark and the complaint petition against the news piece, she captioned it, “We need more people of color in newsrooms.”
She stated it was deeply irresponsible for one of the widely read Sunday broadsheets to trivialize the “casual racism” at a point when the Asian diaspora is experiencing a surge of attacks. Chan also mentioned the fact that The Sunday Times author and the group editors should have known better.
The post also revealed she had submitted a complaint to the media company. The Letters Editor of The Times, Stephen Bleach, replied and explained that the remark was not intended to suggest approval but to reflect the affection in which Prince Philip was held. The publication has already omitted the piece from the digital edition.
Demanding an official apology and retraction from the British publication house, she has also filed the petition for change.org. The actress has also asked her followers to support her and kept the link in her Instagram bio.
In less than 24 hours, the petition started by the ESEA network has over 15000 supporters, and it's growing with every minute. According to the petition, the article promotes racial violence to its worst. It also portrays the country as a collective "we" that "secretly" celebrates racist and offensive insults to the detriment of ethnic groups, which is unacceptable.
While mentioning the reason for signing the petition, one individual wrote, "I'm signing because the idea that one reporter can collectively speak for an entire nation and purport that said nation laughed at racially tinged, "jokes" that perpetuate negative stereotypes and even violence is wholly unacceptable."
In related reports, the British-Chinese actress is also producing a podcast and film about Vincent Chin's murder based on a true story.