Karen Fukuhara has claimed that she was assaulted in the street in an anti-Asian hate crime while walking to buy coffee.
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The Boys and Suicide Squad (2016) actress shared details about the alleged incident on her Instagram yesterday (March 16), saying that she decided to do so to “raise awareness” of the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in countries including the US.
The actor, who was born to Japanese parents in LA, said that she rarely shares things about her private life but felt compelled to speak out.
“Something happened today that I thought was important,” she wrote, claiming that she was “walking to a café for some coffee and a man struck me in the back of my head. It came out of nowhere”.
She continued: “We made no eye contact before, I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It came to my surprise and my hat flew off. By the time I looked back, he was a few feet away from me (he must have kept walking after hitting me).”
Fukuhara added that she’d considered “confronting” the man but after he started walking towards her she decided against such a “risk”.
“After a few seconds of staring at each other, and him yelling at me, he eventually walked away,” she continued.
“This is the first time I’ve been harmed physically, although racial slurs and hurtful actions have been directed to me in the past.
“I write this, because I’ve had conversations with multi-racial friends of mine that had no idea these hate crimes happen to everyday, regular people—people they share meals with.
“Ultimately I know I got lucky,” she added. “He could have come back to hit me again. He could have carried a weapon. The shock of this experience has me thinking about taking self-defence classes. But why is this something we as ‘victims’ have to think about?”
Fukuhara concluded: “What satisfaction are these perpetrators getting from hitting women, Asians, the ELDERLY? They need to be held accountable.”
According to a report referenced in an article by NBC last year, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150 per cent in 2020, mostly in NYC and LA.
Last Friday (March 11), a 67-year-old woman of Asian descent was struck 125 times on the head by a male attacker outside an apartment block in Yonkers, NY. A man has been charged with attempted murder as a hate crime after the assault [via New York Times].
Actors Gemma Chan, Henry Golding and more stars helped launch a #StopAsianHate campaign in the UK last May. Hate crimes against Asian people in London in March 2020 rose by 179 per cent compared to March 2019 according to campaign group Besea.n. Data for the rest of the UK is less accurate, but also points to similar increases.
Parasite director Bong Joon-ho has also spoken out against anti-Asian violence in the US, saying that it’s “quite fearful to watch“, while Bee Vang, who starred opposite Clint Eastwood in the 2008 film Gran Torino, has claimed that the movie fuelled “mainstreamed anti-Asian racism” in the US.