Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel reports that Lisa Chan, the actress who appeared in Pete Hoekstra’s racially-charged ad, has apologized, calling her participation “a mistake.”
The commercial was widely criticized for its cultural insensitivity and furthering negative stereotypes of Asian-Americans. It ran on Super Bowl Sunday but was pull down a couple of days later.
In the ad, a woman, played by Chan, was shown bicycling through a landscape of rice paddies. As she approached the camera, the actress sarcastically thanked “Michigan Senator Debbie Spend-it-Now” for spending so much money, it was helping the Chinese economy at the expense of the U.S.
“Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good,” she said in broken and stereotypically accented English.
“I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities,” Chan wrote on her Facebook page. “As a recent college grad who has spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice, this role is not in any way representative of who I am. It was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that, over time, I hope can be forgiven. I feel horrible about my participation and I am determined to resolve my actions.”
The silence — and lack of apology — out of the Hoekstra camp is deafening, which is par for the course when Pete makes a mistake. He doesn’t say “I’m sorry” as a true leader would. He doubles down and points fingers. “We knew we were taking an aggressive approach on this,” Hoekstra is quoted as saying in response to the criticism. “But this is a time where the people in Michigan and across the country are fed up with the spending, and we wanted to capture that frustration that they had with Washington, D.C. This ad … hits Debbie smack dab between the eyes on the issue where she is vulnerable with the voters of Michigan, and that is spending.”
I don’t know why I should expect any growth or personal development out of Hoekstra, who served in Congress for 18 years. But when you screw up this badly and offensively, one would think he’d have a conscience about it.
I guess not.