Silicon Valley rally calls on Fox News to fire Beckel

Updated: 2014-07-30 07:07

By LIAN ZI in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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Silicon Valley rally calls on Fox News to fire Beckel

Kansen Chu (second from left), San Jose city councilman, addresses that attacking one immigrant group is to attack all immigrant groups at San Jose City Hall in San Jose, California on Tuesday. [Lian Zi / China Daily]

More than 50 local politicians and community leaders joined a rally at city hall in San Jose, California, calling for Fox News to fire talk-show commentator Bob Beckel for what they said are racist remarks he made on his show earlier this month.

"I stand with all immigrants in the United States calling for Fox News to fire Beckel for his offensive and racist remarks made on the air about the Chinese immigrant population in the United States," said San Jose City Council member Kansen Chu, who sponsored the protest on Tuesday. "The remarks made by Beckel do not only offend the Chinese immigrant population, but also the immigrant population that makes up Silicon Valley."

During a July 10 taping of his show The Five ,Beckel made inflammatory comments about China and Chinese people, including using the racially charged term "Chinamen."

Jethroe Moore, a black who is president of the Silicon Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), attended the rally and said: "Bob Beckel is a person with top educational background, but he stooped so low to criticize people of color who come together to make America a great country."

Moina Shaiq, a Muslim community leader in the San Francisco Bay Area, said Beckel's view was "ignorant and dangerous'' and could not be tolerated.

"Mr Beckel should not be allowed a platform to continue this kind of racist speech,'' she said. "Beckel has a long history of controversial comments including other past comments toward colored people and Asians and Jewish people. The implication of this kind of comment goes far beyond the Chinese community. But promoting a culture of intolerance has no place in our society."

Chu, who told China Daily that he came to US in 1976 from Taiwan to pursue a degree in engineering and worked as an engineer at IBM for 18 years before becoming a council member, said he was shocked at Beckel's words.

"In Silicon Valley, immigrants, especially Chinese Americans, have been major contributors to the building of the region into the most technologically advanced in the world," Chu said.

He also urged local high-tech engineering groups and individuals to join together to ask for Beckel's resign.

"He blatantly refused to recant any of his comments, stating that 'there are too many China apologists in this country'. This attack on Chinese immigrants to the United States, especially those working in the high-tech industry, is disgusting and repugnant," Chu said.

Others participating in the rally included Bob Wieckowski, California assemblyman for District 25, Ash Kalra, San Jose City Council member, Barry Chang, Cupertino Council member, and Chandra Brook, director of the San Jose Job Corps.

Betty Yuan, a local Chinese community leader in San Francisco told China Daily: "We don't accept Bob Beckel's apology. He just repeated his racist statement and hurt Chinese Americans again. He needs to apologize and resign from Fox."

During his July 10 show, responding to a report that Chinese hackers had attacked US government databases, Beckel, a former Democratic Party operative, went on a rant, saying: "Chinese are the single biggest threat to the national security of the US. Do you know what we just did? As usual, we bring them over here and teach a bunch of Chinamen, uh, Chinese people, how to do computers, and then they go back to China and hack us."

One week later, Beckel apologized for saying "Chinamen", but refused to apologize to the Chinese government.

"I made some comments last week about the Chinese people which apparently upset some people, for which I apologize," Beckel said near the end of the show."However, I do not apologize for the things I've said about China — and I won't go into the litany of it now because there are too many China apologists in this country — but I will continue to warn the American people about how dangerous China is to the US' security and to our business community. But to those who were offended, I apologize. I do not apologize to the Chinese government, or for their habits, or for their murders, or for anything else."

It was not the first time Beckel has stirred controversy with his remarks. In August 2011, he caused a stir when he called National Football League quarterback Michael Vick a "redneck" and in his attempt to backtrack on any racial connotations said: "When I talk about rednecks; blacks are rednecks, whites are rednecks, I was a redneck, Chinamen are rednecks."

The backlash against Beckel is reminiscent of the recent outrage over a skit that was part of ABC-TV's Jimmy Kimmel Live! show. The skit involved a child suggesting that "killing everyone in China" was an effective solution to the US government's debt problem. The episode lead to street protests from Chinese-American groups and a high-level Chinese government official calling on ABC to fire Kimmel. Kimmel apologized for the incident on several occasions.