Andrew Yang is calling out the New York Daily News over cartoon that many have criticized as racist.
The controversy stemmed from a recent episode of Ziwe’s Showtime series in which she asked Yang to name his favorite subway station in the Big Apple.
“It’s my stop, so Time Square,” said the NYC’s mayoral candidate. “It’s big. It’s cavernous. There are entertainers there. Sure, what’s not to like?”
His response was immediately mocked across social media, with many Twitter users saying his answer was further proof that he wasn’t a true New Yorker. The former presidential candidate has been widely described as out of touch with the average NYC resident, as he’s confessed to fleeing the city during the pandemic lockdowns and admitted to never voting in previous NYC mayoral elections.
Daily News cartoonist Bill Bramhall tackled the backlash with a cartoon the depicted Yang as a city tourist emerging from a subway station. The illustration shows a man with a shirt that reads “Andrew Yang” as he walks in front of a souvenir shop with his arms raised to the sky. “The tourists are back,” a shop worker comments.
Yang, who grew up in Westchester County and now lives in Hell’s Kitchen, addressed the cartoon in a statement Tuesday, linking it to the recent surge in anti-Asian American hate crimes.
“I’ve seen images like this before — in history books from the turn of the century and World War II images of Asians having beady, slanted eyes and buck teeth,” he wrote. “It’s grounded in a history of casting immigrants and children of immigrants as perpetual foreigners or even subhuman – a stereotype which has been used to divide and exclude people for hundreds of years.”
He continued: “I am a proud son of immigrants. But to paint me in the media as a perpetual foreigner to this city is wrong and subtly approves racism at a time when people are being beaten on on the street on the basis of who they are. Every time you say that I’m not a real New Yorker, you’re telling another Asian American that they don’t belong … all new Yorkers belong.”
His statement comes just a day after his wife, Evelyn Yang, slammed the cartoon as a “racist disfiguration.”
The Asian American and Pacific Islander Victory Alliance also called the cartoon “disgusting and wrong,” before calling on the newspaper to “do better.”
Josh Greenman, the editorial page editor for Daily News, pushed back against the allegations of racism, insisting the cartoon was “not a racial stereotype or racist caricature.” He also claimed Bramhall had altered the illustration of Yang after receiving negative feedback on the way his eyes were drawn.
“Andrew Yang is a leading contender to be mayor of New York City, and as commentators, his opponents and The News editorial board have recently pointed out, he’s recently revealed there are major gaps in his knowledge of New York City politics and policy,” Greenman said. “Nor has he ever voted in a mayoral election. Bill Bramhall’s cartoon is a comment on that, period, end of story ...
“After Bill tweeted his cartoon yesterday, people reacted badly to how Yang’s eyes were drawn.” he added. “Bill altered the drawing out of sensitivity to those concerns, without changing the concept of the cartoon, which he and we stand by.”