Michelle Li, formerly a news anchor at News 3 Now in Madison and currently an anchor at KTLA in St. Louis, received a $15,000 donation to support the Asian American Journalists Association in the wake of a racist incident that launched the #VeryAsian hashtag on social media.
As we reported earlier this month, Li gained global fame on Twitter and Instagram when she posted a video of herself sipping tea and listening to a racist voicemail left for her station after she noted that she, like many Korean people, would enjoy dumplings to celebrate New Year’s Day. In the voicemail, a woman can be heard complaining that Li is “very Asian” and that she should “keep her Korean to herself.”
Li told Madison365 that she’d done interviews with national publications in the US like CNN and The Washington Post, as well as news outlets in Korea. On Wednesday, she recounted the experience on The Ellen Show, where she revealed that she had spoken to the woman, who apologized.
Li told DeGeneres that she and fellow journalist Gia Vang had created “Very Asian” t-shirts and were donating proceeds to AAJA, which supports Asian American journalists and helps newsrooms ensure equity in both hiring and coverage. Near the end of the segment, DeGeneres presented Li with a check for $15,000 from partner company Tisbest, which enables people to replace material gifts with philanthropic ones.
Watch the whole segment here: