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Asian American Activist Calls Out ABC News For Mistakenly Labeling Her As Murdered Woman In News Segment

Asian American Activist Calls Out ABC News For Mistakenly Labeling Her As Murdered Woman In News Segment
ABC News

Asian activist Grace Lee called out ABC News for misidentifying her as Michelle Go, the Asian American woman who was killed after an attacker shoved her onto the path of an oncoming subway train in New York City on January 15, 2022.

Nextshark was the first to report on the broadcaster's misrepresentation of the two Asian women that aired on February 14.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was covering a vigil for another Asian victim, Christina Yuna Lee–the 35-year-old woman who was followed into her Chinatown apartment in New York City on February 13 and fatally stabbed.

Grace Lee, who is a community activist and progressive running to represent District 65 in the New York State Assembly, attended the vigil the day after Christina's death and spoke to ABC News correspondent Erielle Reshef about the victim's attacker being charged with murder but not for a hate crime.

Commenting on the rise of violent attacks against Asian American women in New York City, Grace told Reshef:

“That does not diminish the fear — the real fear — that we as Asians, as Asian women especially, are feeling."

Reshef concluded the segment by referring back to Muir's program. However, the story wound up on News Live Prime with Linsey Davis, and the broadcaster's chyron misidentified Grace as the late Michelle Go.

Grace tagged ABC News and set the record straight about her identity.

"My name is Grace Lee. I am a community activist. Michelle Go was an Asian woman who was brutally murdered last month."
"I was at a vigil today for Christina Yuna Lee. Your mistake is harmful and further invisibilizes Asian women."

Twitter was unforgiving of the damaging error that could have easily been prevented.

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) reported that ABC has issued an apology.

"As journalists, we understand that mistakes happen on deadline," they wrote.

"Still, we were disappointed to see a major news network with vast resources and standards departments mix up names, particularly those of members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community during the coverage of such a tragic event."

Following the incident, AAJA President Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Executive Director Naomi Tacuyan Underwood met with ABC President Kim Godwin and were told the error "was an honest and unintentional mistake."

ABC expressed their regrets and stated the "isolated error" was "immediately corrected" in the following statement.

“We have apologized directly to the parties involved and have spoken to Grace Lee and the AAJA. This was an unfortunate technical error, not one born from insensitivity."
"However, we do acknowledge and apologize for the hurt mistakes like this can cause to the Asian community."
"Our track record of fair reporting and elevating marginalized voices speaks to our sincerity.”

AAJA commended ABC for "taking immediate steps" in issuing an apology, but the association also urged other media outlets to "take caution in their coverage of AAPI communities, especially during a time of heightened fear that has resulted from two years of xenophobia and anti-Asian violence."

They also noted that Stop AAPI Hate–the nonprofit organization that tracks incidents of hate and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.–has logged more than 10,000 anti-Asian incidents since March 2020.