The daughter of late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan has been accused of racially abusing an Asian American couple in Manhattan.
Maura Moynihan admitted to radio station WABC that she was the woman captured in a video that has been shared widely on social media amid a rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Asians living in the United States.
The footage shows a heated confrontation between Moynihan and Dan Lee, 31, who began filming Moynihan after she reportedly told Lee’s wife Maria Ha to ‘go back to China‘.
Ha, 25, shared the footage on Instagram, saying the incident happened on Sunday at 1:25pm at First Avenue and East 22nd street, and asking people to help identify the woman.
Ha said she had been walking down the street when the woman approached her, coming close to her face and saying: ‘You’re not from here. Go back to Communist China b****’.
The daughter of late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan has been accused of racially abusing an Asian American couple in Manhattan. Maura Moynihan (pictured) admitted to radio station WABC that she was the woman captured in a video that has been shared widely on social media amid a rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. She denied making racist remarks
Moynihan covered her face after she was told she was being filmed and accused Dan Lee, who was recording her from outside the cab’ of ‘assaulting’ her
In the footage, Moynihan repeatedly claims Lee – who is standing recording from outside the cab Moynihan is sitting in – is ‘assaulting’ her and asks the couple to leave her alone.
A furious Lee can be heard saying: ‘She said go back to f***ing China’ and ‘Say that racist s*** again. You said Communist China?’
‘Well isn’t that where you’re from?,’ Moynihan replies in the video.
The couple told WABC that they left soon after the incident but that Moynihan then opened the cab’s window and shouted ‘Go back to Communist China!’ as they crossed the street.
Police said they are investigating the incident.
Lee’s wife Maria Ha shared the footage of the confrontation on Twitter, asking people to help identify the woman
Ha described the encounter, which happened on Sunday at 1:25pm at First Avenue and East 22nd street, in an Instagram post
While Moynihan admitted to being the woman in the video, she denied making racist remarks.
‘It had nothing whatsoever to do with any bias or racism or anti-Asian American prejudice, as has been wrongly suggested,’ she said in a statement to WABC.
‘I have devoted most of my life to working with and for Asian people, most particularly in the cause of securing basic human rights for the Tibetan people in their continuing struggle against Communist China,’ Moynihan said.
Racist incidents targeting Asian Americans have skyrocketed in the last year.
StopAAPIHate, a coalition addressing anti-Asian hate amid the pandemic, said it had received 3,795 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
According to figures from a report by the group, the majority of incidents happened at places of business, with the second most common site being public streets.
Monynihan is the daughter of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (left). Pictured: Moynihan with the Democratic candidate for Senate Representative Charles Schumer (right) in New York in 1998
Sixty-eight per cent of incidents reported involved verbal harassment, while incidents of coughing/spitting, physical assault, online harassment and avoidance were also recorded.
Incidents were reported in all 50 states and affected individuals from a variety of races and ethnicities, the majority of whom were of Chinese descent.
Activists have drawn a link between former President Donald Trump’s repeated use of the phrase ‘China virus’ to describe Covid-19 and the increasingly open hostility to Asian Americans.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed this, saying that there was ‘no question’ that ‘damaging rhetoric’ from the Trump administration had resulted in ‘perceptions of the Asian-American community that are inaccurate, unfair [and] has elevated threats against Asian Americans.’
‘That’s why we’re seeing that around the country,’ she said, referring to the increasing number of reported hate crimes involving Asian Americans.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that there was ‘no question’ that ‘damaging rhetoric’ from the Trump administration had resulted in ‘perceptions of the Asian-American community that are inaccurate, unfair [and] has elevated threats against Asian Americans’
Psaki’s comments followed a shooting at three Asian-owned spas in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday in which eight people were killed.
The shooting unleashed an outpouring of fear and anger from Asian-Americans and others on social media, who were already reeling from the rise in hate crimes and say that racism against their community is not taken seriously.
The anger only increased after a deputy sheriff told a press conference that the shooter had been having ‘a really bad day’.
‘He was pretty much fed up and had been kind of at the end of his rope,’ Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said on Wednesday.
‘Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.’