Actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim is continuing to speak out against the rise in racism and violence toward Asians and Asian Americans in the United States.
Appearing Wednesday night on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” the “Good Doctor” star and executive producer discussed his and fellow actor Daniel Wu’s decision to offer a $25,000 reward for information in a recent attack on a 91-year-old man — part of a series of hate incidents and thefts that have plagued Oakland’s Chinatown community.
Kim said he and Wu were also motivated to take action when another elderly man, Vicha Ratanapakdee, died last month at 84 after he was similarly targeted and shoved to the ground while on his morning walk in San Francisco.
“The night I saw Mr. Ratanapakdee’s murder and the incident against the man in Oakland, I got so upset, and I was very emotional,” Kim told host Chris Cuomo.
“We connected, and I just said, ‘We have to do something more than just tweet about it and speak about it. This has been going on for too long, and enough is enough. We need to do something. We need to put our money where our mouth is.’ And so we thought that by offering an award like this, we could draw attention to this issue.”
“I don’t think you can deny the fact that there has been racist rhetoric coming from positions of power where you can draw a direct line to the surge in these kinds of crimes,” says actor @danieldaekim, who’s fighting anti-Asian racism after attacks against seniors and others. pic.twitter.com/VEF5fRVS1u
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) February 18, 2021
Kim and Wu are among a number of Hollywood figures who have used their platforms in recent weeks to spotlight violence against Asians and Asian Americans, which has continued to surge during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the many others raising awareness are entertainment luminaries Gemma Chan, Chrissy Teigen, Henry Golding, Harry Shum Jr. and Olivia Munn, who tweeted earlier this week that her friend’s mother was attacked in New York City.
“Awareness is really just the first step,” Kim said. “Now it’s about volunteering, it’s about contacting community organizers who are working in communities like Oakland and the Bay Area and New York City — where so many of these attacks are happening — and donating to these causes.
“And it’s about speaking up. It’s about not being silent, whether you’re a witness or a victim. Report these incidents because we know that there’s a tendency in the Asian American community not to report, and these figures that we’re citing now, as a result, are not accurate. They’re actually very underreported.”
When asked earlier this week by CNN’s Robyn Curnow about how former President Trump’s racist language to describe the novel coronavirus had affected the Asian American community, Kim said, “It’s a difficult question to answer.” He later told Cuomo that “words matter, especially from positions of power.”
“I think it was a confluence of events that led to this phenomenon in the country, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that immediately after he started calling this ‘kung flu,’ and the ‘China virus,’ we saw a 1,900% increase in hate crimes and abuse in New York alone,” Kim told Curnow.
“You can draw a direct line from that kind of language to these kinds of incidents.”
The “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0″ star also responded to President Biden’s executive order last month addressing the increase in hostility toward Asian Americans and vowing to give the Justice Department additional guidance and resources to track anti-Asian hate incidents.
“I think it’s a big step that President Biden used an executive order to denounce this kind of crime and this kind of hate toward Asian Americans, and it’s an important first step,” Kim told Curnow. “It’s certainly a long way from the other rhetoric that we were hearing. There’s clearly a lot more that needs to be done, though.”
Cuomo’s “Prime Time” interview with Kim came days after CNN confirmed to the Washington Post that the veteran news anchor would no longer be permitted to interview his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — which he did on multiple occasions earlier in the pandemic, despite a conflict of interest.
“The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time,” CNN told the Post. “We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest.
“As a result, we made an exception to a rule that we have had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing and covering his brother, and that rule remains in place today. CNN has covered the news surrounding Gov. Cuomo extensively.”