Andrew Yang, one of seven candidates in the race for mayor of New York City, Thursday slammed The New York Daily News for running a cartoon of him that he was racially motivated and played on the idea that Asian-Americans are outsiders and permanent tourists.
"We're at a point in our history, unfortunately, when Asian-Americans are getting beaten on the streets of New York and told to go back where we came from, or that we don't belong," Yang, who ran for the Democrats' presidential nomination in 2020, told CNN's "New Day."
In the cartoon, drawn by artist Bill Bramhall, Yang is depicted coming out of a Times Square subway station, with a souvenir shop owner saying "the tourists are back."
The cartoon was in reference to a recent interview Yang did with comedian and TV star Ziwe Fumudoh, where he said his favorite subway stop is the one at Times Square, which most native New Yorkers tend to avoid.
Yang told CNN Thursday that the cartoon would not work if it involved a person of a different race, but he defended liking the Times Square subway stop because he lives nearby in Hell's Kitchen and uses the station often to travel around the city.
Bramhall changed his original online cartoon, which depicted Yang with small, slanted eyes before it hit the newspaper's print edition after people "reacted badly to how Yang's eyes were drawn, the Daily News' editorial page editor Josh Greenman said. Other than that, he defended the cartoon and denied that it was a "racial stereotype or racist caricature."
"Andrew Yang is a leading contender to be mayor of New York City, and as commentators, his opponents and The News editorial board have recently pointed out, he's recently revealed there are major gaps in his knowledge of New York City politics and policy. Nor has he ever voted in a mayoral election," Greenman said. "Bill Bramhall's cartoon is a comment on that, period, end of story."
Yang has been criticized several times during the race for not voting in previous mayoral contests and for leaving New York City during the height at the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yang was born in Schenectady to Taiwanese parents and has lived in New York City for 25 years. His wife Evelyn is from Queens.
She was also furious about the cartoon, reports The New York Daily News. At an event he held earlier this week to decry the rise of violence against Asian-Americans, she spoke out while holding up the newspaper.
"This cartoonist disfigured Andrew’s face," she said. "He has overtly beady, slanted eyes. Now, these white people standing here on the other side have larger eyes and human irises. They’re calling Andrew, this Asian man, a tourist, coming from who knows where, but probably from a land of other people who look just like him with his shifty, beady eyes.”
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