YouTube star Michelle Phan speaks out against xenophobic coronavirus comments

“Why are some of you telling me to go back to eating bats?” Phan wrote in a tweet.
Michelle Phan
Michelle Phan.Amy Sussman / Invision/AP

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By Natasha Roy

Beauty YouTube star Michelle Phan spoke out against xenophobic reactions to the coronavirus outbreak in a series of tweets.

Phan faced racist comments and raised awareness of the issue Saturday, following a wave of xenophobic and racist acts against people of Asian descent worldwide.

Some of the offensive comments included asking Phan “why do you Asians eat creatures,” and said this was “why [you’re] starting all sorts of diseases.”

“Why do you settlers give out smallpox infected blankets to Native Americans, wiping out 95% of their population?” Phan said in response. She later tweeted a screenshot of the exchange.

In a follow-up tweet, Phan said she had a reminder for the people who had been racist toward Asians because of the coronavirus.

Several people replied to the post telling Phan to “stop eating bats.”

“I'd like to remind the Chinese, eating rats, bats, and anything else that moves, results in disease,” one user wrote. “I'd also like to remind the poster, that being a manufacturing powerhouse doesn't excuse mainstream animal abuse by a nation.”

“Why are some of you telling me to go back to eating bats?” Phan tweeted in response. “I’m American you ignorant f—s.”

The racism Asians are facing around the world because of the coronavirus has led to public pushback. Toronto Mayor John Tory took a stand against xenophobic responses to the coronavirus, saying it spreads misinformation. Asians in France started the Twitter hashtag #Jenesuispasunvirus — "I am not a virus" — to speak out about racist incidents the community has faced.

Robert Fullilove, professor of sociomedical sciences at New York's Columbia Medical Center, previously said in an email that more panic can create more temptation to blame an outsider, or "other."

“If anything, I am tempted to predict that xenophobia will rise in significance to precisely the degree to which our sources of information — all of them, not just media — give us stuff to panic about,” Fullilove said.

Following the worldwide coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, the State Department issued a travel advisory warning Americans against traveling to China. The World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency Jan. 30.