The Asian Chamber of Commerce in Denver demanded that a local newspaper apologize over an April Fools prank column that they said was racist and could fuel anti-Asian hate crimes.
The column in the Greenwood Villager newspaper jokingly suggested that a theme park was being planned in the area but it made references to Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus is believed to have originated.
“America’s Largest Amusement Park Heads to Greenwood Village,” read the headline.
“The astonishing announcement of a new 13-acre amusement park coming to the vacant land adjacent to the Landmark towers is now revealed to the public,” it read.
“Because if the recent Asian alleged hate crimes, the planning commission and council have moved quietly through confidential Zoom meetings with Chinese officials to complete the contract,” the article continued. “Several city planners traveled to Wuhan, China to work out the details that include bringing over 1000 Chinese workers and their families to the area for the two-year construction period.”
In a later part of the article, the newspaper said that hotels were preparing for the Asian workers.
“Area hotels are being contracted for lower rates for the Chinese families and adding more rice, vegetables and chopsticks to their morning breakfasts,” it read.
Board member Clarence Low told KMGH-TV that the satirical article was offensive to Asians.
“Calling out Asians and calling out any race or ethnic group in in the interest of a comedy or satire is wholly inappropriate. It just continues to elevate this fear mongering and anti-Asian-phobia,” said Low.
“We are not a punchline. No ethnic group should be a punchline to any satirical article,” he added.
The Villager released a statement on Friday explaining that the article “was by no means intended to insult or offend anyone, especially the Asian community.”
The statement added, “In light of recent events and attacks on Asians, the paper sincerely regrets any insensitivities in the April Fools spoof.”