Olympic gold-medal winning gymnast Suni Lee said she was the victim of a racist attack in October.
Lee told PopSugar that when she was out with friends in Los Angeles one night, a group speeding by in a car yelled racial slurs and that one passenger in the car sprayed her in the arm with pepper spray as the car drove off.
“I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off,” she told PopSugar. “I didn’t do anything to them, and having the reputation, it’s so hard because I didn’t want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen.”
Lee, a Hmong American, was with friends, who were all also of Asian descent. She said the group used the term “ching chong” and told the group to “go back to where they came from.”
Back in July, Lee became the first Hmong American to represent the United States in the Olympics. She told PopSugar that she has a hard time understanding the hate crimes against Asian Americans, and that while it is difficult to speak about racial injustice, she knows the importance her voice carries.
Stop AAPI Hate reported in August that there have been 9,081 hate incidents since March 19, 2020, and that the number spiked from 6,603 to 9,081 during the period between April and June 2021.
The report stated that there were 4,548 hate incidents in 2020 and 4,533 in 2021. It found that 63.7 percent of the cases were verbal harassment, 16.5 percent were shunning, 13.7 percent were physical assault, 11 percent were civil rights violations and 8.3 percent were online harassment.