The judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is facing backlash for making a joke in the courtroom this week.
As the court prepared to take a lunch break on Thursday, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder decided to make a quip about “Asian food.”
“I hope the Asian food isn’t coming… isn’t on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor,” he said, seemingly referring to the backup of numerous cargo ships impacting California ports.
It didn’t take long for Schroeder’s controversial joke to spark outrage, as a number of critics slammed the comment as being offensive and anti-Asian.
John Yang, the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, a group that advocates for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, took to Twitter on Thursday to criticize the Wisconsin judge.
“Maybe I’m supposed to applaud him for not saying ‘Oriental food,’” Yang wrote. “Seriously, this remark can only be seen as a joke at the expense of Asians/Asian Americans. During a trial that clearly has race implications, no less. Definitely not okay.”
It isn’t the first time Schroeder has been criticized for his decisions relating to the Rittenhouse trial. A few weeks ago, he ruled that the prosecution may not refer to the two individuals shot and killed by Rittenhouse as “victims,” while allowing the defense to label them “rioters,” “looters,” and “arsonists.”
“If more than one of them were engaged in arson, rioting, looting, I’m not going to tell the defense you can’t call them that,” Schroeder said. “The word victim is a loaded, loaded word.”
Rittenhouse is currently on trial for fatally shooting two people and injuring a third during civil unrest in Kenosha Wisconsin. Demonstrators gathered to protest the police shooting of Blake, who was shot by police seven times on Aug. 23, 2020, and is now paralyzed.
Rittenhouse is charged with intentional, reckless and attempted homicide, as well as reckless endangerment, curfew violation, and possession of a firearm as a minor (he was 17 at the time of the shootings).