ST. LOUIS (AP) — Michelle Li, who formerly anchored mornings on KING 5 in Seattle, received an outpouring of support from around the world after a viewer criticized her for “being very Asian” and told her to “keep her Korean to herself.”
Michelle Li, now an anchor at KSDK-TV in St. Louis, Missouri did a 30-second segment on New Year’s Day about foods people eat for the holiday. She finished with an impromptu comment that she ate dumpling soup like many Koreans do.
A viewer left a message saying she “kind of took offense” to the comment because, she suggested, a white anchor would get fired for talking about what white people eat on New Year’s.
Li, who is of Korean descent, was raised by white parents in Missouri. She said in a post on KSDK that she reconnected with her Korean family in 1998 and has incorporated Korean culture into her life since then.
She posted the woman’s message on social media and received thousands of messages of support, including from former NBA player Rex Chapman, comedian Margaret Cho, and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.
On Jan. 4, Li announced that she and Gia Vang, who is Hmong and an anchor on KARE in Minneapolis, were offering a line of merchandise with the logo “Very Asian” for a limited time, with proceeds going to the Asian American Journalists Association.
Li didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment that was left at KSDK.
In her post on her station’s website, Li said the racist post turned out to be a gift because it led so many people to share family pictures and stories on social media.
“There is more good than bad,” she said.
KSDK said in a statement that it fully supports Li.
“At KSDK, we embrace diversity in the people we hire, the stories we tell, and our local community. We will continue supporting Michelle and celebrating diversity and inclusion,” the station said.