VIDEO: Why Is China FURIOUS At RiceGum?
A YouTuber acts ignorant about the local culture in Asia and causes and online controversy….again.
YouTuber RiceGum has defended himself against accusations of racism and sexism after a recent visit to China. Bryan Le, aka RiceGum, is a mega-YouTube-star who sends out daily vlogs to his over 10 million subscribers.
Recently, he took a trip to Hong Kong with his friend M2thaK, ostensibly to refute some of his online haters that he should “go back to China.”
For the record, Le is of mixed Chinese and Vietnamese descent, but he was born in 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But, the video documenting his trip to China, titled “Why I Left The Clout House (im sorry),” is filled with Chinese stereotypes and offensive language toward women. He asks Chinese people who don’t speak English, “Where the hos at” and “Where the thots at?” and makes consistent references to how the locals might be eating dogs and cats. There are a few other nods to Asian stereotypes throughout the video, such as treating people from China like they’re Jackie Chan, and asking Asian women if they give happy endings.
And look, if this is the kind of humor you find absolutely hilarious, fine. We’re not here to rain on your parade. In fact, this video came out on June 12 and nobody really seemed to care. It only became “a thing” at all after the video was reposted on the Chinese video and livestreaming site Miaopai.
That video’s received over 10 million views and commenters are not happy. Comments include “I want to beat him” and “non recyclable garbage.” The local media picked it up too. Coconuts, an Asia-based English-language blog, said RiceGum “made a fool of himself.”
That article points out the irony that Le went to Hong Kong to challenge his racist commenters, but wound up relying on tired and offensive stereotypes. Several articles also single out a moment where RiceGum and M2thaK pressure a Chinese man to finish a half-eaten ice cream bar, calling it a kind of bullying.
All this negative press got RiceGum’s attention and he made a follow up, called “Why Everyone In China Hates Me.” His main counterpoint in it is that the Chinese site mistranslated “thots” and “hos” to “prostitutes,” and he’s like “no no no guys I was just using slang for ‘girls.’”
He digs himself even deeper when translating the Chinese page to find out how many views the video received. Now, to be fair, Le is Asian and he defends his use of Asian stereotypes as analogous to other races referencing stereotypes of their own race.
So we’ll leave it up to you to decide if you think Ricegum is being racist with those comments or if his status as an Asian-American (sigh) comedian gives him the capital to make those jokes.
He ends the video with, I guess, an “apology”, but one that sounded incredible forced. One of the most forced, like, “hey, 4-year-old, go back inside and apologize or you don’t get a popsicle” apologies we’ve ever seen.
And yeah, people online kind of aren’t having it. Of course, this can’t help but remind us of another YouTuber who took a trip to an Asian country he’d never visited and started a controversy basically out of ignorance. Click on the hyperlink to find out who. We’ll wait. Anyway, it’s Logan Paul.
Much like that situation however, there will be a lot of hemming and hawing from grownups who think this kind of content is disrespectful and inappropriate for children, but it won’t really matter as he’ll become even more popular among his key demographic because of it.
The only way this controversy will have any sort of lasting impact is if YouTube chooses to temporarily demonetize RiceGum’s videos, as it did with Logan Paul.
What do you guys think? Should RiceGum give a better apology or is everyone being too sensitive? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.