A two-bit Howard Stern wannabe who gained brief internet fame over the “Change My Mind” memes is in hot water again over a racist comment targeting KPIX reporter Betty Yu.
You’ve surely seen, and may have even shared, a meme wherein some smug asshole is sitting at a fold-out table and drinking from a coffee mug with a sign in front of him that says “Change My Mind.” Like most memes, it was not meant to become a meme. The smug asshole is former Fox News commentator Steven Crowder, he is sitting in a courtyard at Texas Christian University, and his sign originally said “Male Privilege is a Myth / Change My Mind."
But once the internet got ahold of it, the sign has been, well, frequently altered.
Crowder has since made a career of complaining about “wokeness” on YouTube and monetizing whatever greasy ad dollars he can scare up amongst his 5.5 million followers. But a Wednesday segment he did covering the In-N-Out Burger vaccination dustup is causing a backlash from journalists nationwide as he ridiculed KPIX reporter Betty Yu for having, in his words, “an aggressively Asian face.”
We are embedding the segment above, but not the YouTube link, because we don’t want him to get more clicks or ad revenue. Here’s a transcript of Crowder and co-hosts Dave Landau’s and Gerald Morgan’s remarks:
CROWDER: San Francisco In-N-Out, they've been in a battle with the city over – let me just let them tell you the story, vaccine requirements. [CLIP BEGINS] Oh, that is an aggressively Asian face.
CROWDER: It is a — I mean that just means if you were a skier it would be like a black diamond you'd have to drop in on a chopper.
LANDAU: Where's Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz?
CROWDER: The city confirmed that it closed a private business for not acting like the health – for not acting like the FDA. [CLIP ENDS]
CROWDER: By the way, the reason I say that is because usually with the reporters, they're, like, they're kind of like Americanized Asians. So I think it's a good thing.
MORGAN: Yeah, yeah, no. It's culture.
CROWDER: It's a good thing. It's full Asian.
LANDAU: I wish she would have kept her fan.
Yu has commented publicly on the remarks. “You know, it’s going to take a lot of time because — here we are in 2021 — and what’s triggering about that is what gave this guy the authority to decide what’s Americanized?,” she said in an interview. “That’s triggering and that’s racist. When I look back, what is most shocking to me is the casualness of racism. This kind of unbridled hatred and mockery. All of it.”
KPIX and their parent company CBS Viacom have released a statement too. “CBS Television Stations and KPIX 5 fully support our colleague Betty Yu and condemn the horrific, racist comments directed at Betty as well as the other demeaning Asian stereotypes spread during Steven Crowder’s program on Wednesday,” says the statement provided to Deadline. “We stand in solidarity with Betty, an accomplished journalist and valued member of our CBS family. These hateful and offensive remarks are outrageous and destructive and reaffirm the importance of our work as journalists to shine a light on anti-Asian violence and hate speech when it occurs.”
We’ve seen Steve Crowder before, in incidents other than the “Change my mind” meme. His whipping up of online harassment against gay Latinx journalist Carlos Maza led a cadre Google employees to call for Google’s float to be disallowed from the SF Pride Parade in 2019, over Google-owned Youtube’s lax response to the harassment. Just last week, he served a one-week suspension from YouTube for a hate speech violation in promoting a completely bunk story about a supposed prison rape involving a trans inmate.
These incidents are instructive to the current controversy over the racist remarks against Betty Yu. This is not a free speech or “boys will be boys” issue, as trolls and their enablers at YouTube would have you believe. This is a wink-nod provocation for Crowder’s followers to harass people online, and YouTube coddles this because racist provocateurs are very useful for Google’s profits and bottom line.
Change my mind.
Image: Betty Yu via Facebook