After a journalist’s racist tweet about the Japanese Indy 500 winner went viral this past weekend, a former colleague took to social media to sound off.
Gil Asakawa, a former executive producer at The Denver Post’s website, recently responded to his old colleague Terry Frei’s remarks about racer Takuma Sato. Frei had written that he felt “uncomfortable” the Japanese driver had won the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend.
Though Frei deleted his tweet and is reportedly “no longer an employee” at the Denver Post, he still received a great deal of backlash from a variety of social media users including Asakawa.
“I wonder what my former colleague Terry Frei thought about my running the website that featured his sports coverage?” Asakawa asked in his post on Sunday. “Was he ‘very uncomfortable’ with me having power over his content?”
In his post, Asakawa questioned whether Frei would’ve reacted the same way had a German or Italian driver won the race. And further addressing how Frei tied Memorial Day to his objection to the win, Asakawa also mentioned the service of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, one of the most decorated units in U.S. military history made up of all Japanese-Americans.
“What was he thinking?” the Japanese-American writer said before calling the tweet a “disgusting disappointment.”
For Asakawa, his former colleague’s statements struck a nerve, as his father served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he told 9 News. He explained that his father was both “all-American and also very Japanese,” however served the United States. He told the outlet that he wonders how Frei would’ve reacted to the Japanese-American veteran.
Frei has issued a statement in an attempt to apologize, explaining that his actions were linked to a Sunday visit to his father’s grave at the Fort Logan National Cemetery. Frei said his father flew missions over Japanese targets during World War II. But Asakawa, whose dad is buried at the same cemetery, said he doesn’t buy Frei’s excuse.
“It’s sad to keep that kind of hatred in your soul,” he told 9 News. “My dad didn’t have any problems with Koreans, even though he fought Koreans.”