A state lawmaker in Delaware apologized on Tuesday after he sent an email using a racist, sexist slur for Asian women in an unrelated email about sex work. Democratic State Rep. Gerald Brady, who represents Wilmington, inadvertently sent the email on June 27 to an advocate working on decriminalizing prostitution.
“Is the dude basically saying, if we provide free (sex acts) for Uncle Pervie there will be few rapes and few (slur for Asian women) will be shipped in CONEX containers to the Port of Wilmington??” Brady replied from his official government email address in messages obtained by The News Journal of Wilmington.
The comments were in response to a study sent by the advocate which suggested sex crimes in a New York City precinct decreased with the presence of more strip clubs. The original email also called on Delaware lawmakers to take measures to protect sex workers in the state, referencing a time period where Rhode Island decriminalized sex work in massage parlors and strip clubs, according to The News Journal.
Brady intended to forward the message to a private citizen he knows, but clicked ‘reply’ instead of ‘forward’ and sent a response to the original sender, a spokesperson for the Delaware House Democratic Caucus told The News Journal. Despite neither the study nor the sender directly mentioning Asian women, Brady introduced them into the conversation by using a slur.
Brady didn’t respond to a request from NBC News for comment.
In a statement posted to his Facebook account, Brady apologized, saying “I have to do better.”
“There is no excuse I can offer that explains my embarrassing and shameful words that insulted, stereotyped and dehumanized an entire culture while making light of a serious human rights crisis,” he wrote. “Whether I think someone’s policy proposal is legitimate is immaterial; human trafficking deserves to be treated seriously and attacked aggressively – not treated as a punchline.”
The email comes months after national conversations about the sexualization and fetishization of Asian women came to the forefront in the wake of the Atlanta shooting. Experts say that Asian women face a very unique and insidious sexism in their everyday lives.
"Killing Asian American women to eliminate a man's temptation speaks to the history of the objectification of Asian and Asian American women as variations of the Asian temptress, the dragon ladies and the lotus blossoms, whose value is only in relation to men's fantasies and desires," Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the nonprofit National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum told NBC Asian America in March. "This is horrifying. Stop fetishizing us."