Hollywood celebrities are rushing to blame the shooting deaths of eight people in the Atlanta area on anti-Asian racism, despite the police indicating that race wasn’t the motive. According to a law enforcement official, the suspect has claimed the shootings at three massage parlors were related to an apparent sex addiction and his desire to eliminate his sexual temptations.
President Joe Biden refrained from rushing to judgement when reporters asked him about the shooting. “I am making no connection at this moment on the motivation of the killer,” he told reporters Wednesday in the Oval Office. “I’m waiting for an answer as the investigation proceeds from the FBI and the Justice Department.”
Stars including Chelsea Handler, George Takei, and Rob Reiner joined the stampede to blame the shootings on racism, with many using the hashtags #StopAAPIHate and #StopAsianHate. Some celebrities even blamed Republicans and Donald Trump.
“I’m sorry, but the deaths of over half a million Americans, the deadly seditious insurrection, the murders of Asian-Americans all lay at the feet of Donald J. Trump,” Reiner tweeted.
“It would be a good time for Republicans to stand up and recognize the terrible impact Trump has had when people are murdered as a result of the words of Donald Trump,” Chelsea Handler tweeted.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been arrested on suspicion of killing eight people at three massage parlors late Tuesday in the Atlanta area. Six of the eight victims were Asian, according to reports.
On Wednesday, Sheriff Frank Reynolds of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect has claimed the shootings weren’t racially motivated and that he targeted the parlors because of an apparent sex addiction. “He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction,” Reynolds said, adding that the parlors represented “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”
Watch below:City of Atlanta Police Department / Facebook
The suspect was reportedly arrested en route to Florida, with the intention of targeting porn companies.
Despite these statements, Hollywood celebrities are aggressively pushing unsubstantiated claims that the shooter acted out of racism against Asians. Some stars used the shootings to score political points against conservatives.
Richard Jewell star Olivia Wilde said Asian Americans “are living in fear” and are “being brutalized and murdered.”
What can I do to support my Asian-American sisters and brothers? They’re living in fear. They’re being brutalized and murdered. I don’t want to just express my sympathy. I need an education on what I can do to be an ally.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) March 17, 2021
The Mindy Project star Mindy Kaling claimed the violence was a result of the “normalizing of anti-Asian hate speech in the past year.”
The targeting of our Asian brothers and sisters is sickening, but not surprising given the normalizing of anti-Asian hate speech in the past year. We have to #StopAsianHate, enough is enough!
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) March 17, 2021
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay urged people to “examine stereotypes you hold about Asian people” and “work to dismantle that within yourself.”
The hashtag #StopAsianHate is rightly trending. How do we do that beyond just tweeting? Some ideas. Examine stereotypes you hold about Asian people. Work to dismantle that within yourself. Raise your voice anywhere that anti-Asian sentiment is present. Normalize calling it out. https://t.co/KENMNCsEvy
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 17, 2021
Star Trek actor George Takei blamed House GOP members, saying that the use of the term “China Virus” has led to physical violence.
Three days ago, the leader of the House GOP called it the “China Virus” again.
Words have consequences, especially those from our leaders.
Reporters: Ask politicians who trade in racism if they feel responsible or remorseful for violence committed in the wake of their words.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 17, 2021
Comedian Chelsea Handler also blamed Republicans as well as Donald Trump.
It would be a good time for Republicans to stand up and recognize the terrible impact Trump has had when people are murdered as a result of the words of Donald Trump. How many Americans have to die before Republicans stand up for something?
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) March 17, 2021
Rob Reiner singled out Donald Trump to blame for the shootings.
I’m sorry, but the deaths of over half a million Americans, the deadly seditious insurrection, the murders of Asian-Americans all lay at the feet of Donald J. Trump.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) March 17, 2021
One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush appeared to blame the shootings on “the intersection of white supremacy and misogyny.”
There were ~ 3,800 racist attacks on the #APPI community in this country last year. Most of them were against women.
The intersection of white supremacy and misogyny is deadly. I am heartbroken. Scared. Angry. Determined.
We must stand up against this, friends. #StopAsianHate
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) March 17, 2021
Bravo’s Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi also used the shootings to attack Trump, claiming the alleged shooter was influenced by the former president.
This is deeply, deeply sad.
Trump on Fox *tonight* referred to COVID using the racist slur "China virus."
He previously called it the "Kung Flu."
While he continues to spread hatred against Asian Americans, people like this shooter are listening.https://t.co/bBAkzQl3R1
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) March 17, 2021
Actor-director and Disney’s Pinocchio writer Chris Weitz claimed without evidence that “it was clearly a hate crime.”
It was clearly a hate crime. It is clearly fucking stupid to take a murderous lunatic's word for the content of his lunacy. Look at his actions. Look at the context. Look at the culture.
— Chris Weitz (@chrisweitz) March 17, 2021
Ellen Barkin used the hashtag #StopAsianHate while expressing disbelief about the suspect’s alleged claims. Actor Seth Green also expressed disbelief, claiming that the suspect “intentionally” sought out “women of a particular race.”
Sex addiction and low sugar now take their place beside the Twinkie defense in the pantheon of excuses for murder. #StopAsianHate
— Ellen Barkin (@EllenBarkin) March 17, 2021
We’ve all had extreme bad days and an acceptable reaction is not to intentionally seek out women of a particular race and murder them. https://t.co/KaLImNPXfZ
— Seth Green (@SethGreen) March 17, 2021
My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos claimed that the shooting was a hate crime targeting Asian people.
It is a terrorist act and a hate crime to target and murder Asian people so MEDIA please delete every reference to his pastor father, to his nerdiness and general all around quiet boy whiteness. Also, stop showing his picture. He is not the victim, he is a murderer.
— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) March 17, 2021
HBO’s The Newsroom and X-Men actress Olivia Munn tweeted that “violent attacks and murders against Asians are still happening. Please help us.”
— o l i v i a (@oliviamunn) March 17, 2021
Other stars who labelled the shootings as manifestation of anti-Asian racism include Debra Messing, Susan Sarandon, Alyssa Milano, Amber Tamblyn, Waand Viola Davis.
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) March 17, 2021
A white RACIST DOMESTIC TERRORIST.
A WHITE SUPREMACIST. pic.twitter.com/VOlmD93pgI
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) March 17, 2021
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) March 17, 2021
This escalation of attacks on Asian Americans is horrifying. STOP IT. Stop this sickness America. Stop this brutality.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) March 17, 2021
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) March 17, 2021
I stand in solidarity and empathy with my Asian brothers and sisters. 👊🏿👊🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿❤❤ https://t.co/RiqEiWgbOh
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) March 17, 2021
Actor Michael Ian Black blamed the shootings on “gun violence, racism, and white male privilege.”
I've been trying to be way less political on here but I don't think is political. It's just a familiar combination of horrific gun violence, racism, and white male privilege. https://t.co/EAq0D58VAN
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) March 17, 2021