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‘Kung flu’ draws ire of Bruce Lee’s daughter

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 5 days ago Storm Gifford
Shannon Lee holding a sign posing for the camera: Bruce Lee's daughter is appalled by President Trump's use of the racist phrase "kung flu." © Jamie McCarthy Bruce Lee's daughter is appalled by President Trump's use of the racist phrase "kung flu."

One prominent Asian-American is calling out President Trump’s overt racism.

Shannon Lee, the daughter of martial arts master and film star Bruce Lee, slammed the commander in chief for his ongoing use of the pejorative term “kung flu” as slang for coronavirus.

“Saying ‘kung flu’ is in some ways similar to someone sticking their fingers in the corners of their eyes and pulling them out to represent an Asian person,” Lee explained to NBC Asian America. “It’s a joke at the expense of a culture and of people. It’s very much a racist comment. . . . in particular in the context of the times because it is making people unsafe.”

Trump uttered the term at his half-empty June 20 Tulsa rally after joking that COVID-19 has more names than any other disease.

Despite backlash within his own party, the president uttered it again days later in Phoenix.

Back in March, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said she was appalled by the derogatory phrase.

“Of course, it’s wrong, said Conway to reporters at the time. “That’s highly offensive, so you should tell us all who it is.”

But as Trump has become more emboldened to spout the revolting phrase to his braying legions, Conway unsurprisingly sings a different tune now.

“My reaction is that the president has made very clear he wants everybody to understand, and I think many Americans do understand the virus originated in China,” said Conway on June 24 during a press conference covered by C-SPAN. “And had China been more transparent and honest with the United States and the world, we wouldn’t have all the death and destruction that unfortunately we’ve suffered.”

Late last year, Lee, 51, was also highly critical of Quentin Tarantino’s depiction of her father in his Academy Award-winning film “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood.” In the film, Lee — portrayed by Mike Moh — is a young, cocky actor who challenges Brad Pitt’s stuntman character to a fight.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who co-starred with Lee in the 1972 martial-arts classic “Game of Death,” was also critical of Tarantino’s characterization.


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