Is Megan Rapinoe racist? Soccer player's old tweet about 'Asian eyes' sparks outrage
In the controversial May 2011 tweet, Megan Rapinoe reportedly told Natasha Kai, a fellow US Women's Soccer team member, 'u look Asian with those closed eyes'
Megan Rapinoe has been accused of racism just a day after she became the face of Victoria's Secret after one of her old tweets resurfaced in which she made a racist comment against a team member of Asian descent.
In the controversial May 2011 tweet, Rapinoe reportedly told Natasha Kai, a fellow US Women's Soccer team member of Asian descent, "u look Asian with those closed eyes." Rapinoe, a firebrand for equal gender pay and queer rights, received pushback on social media for the resurfaced tweet, which had not been deleted at the time of writing.
@tasha_kai00 u look asian with those closed eyes!— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) May 19, 2011
While it wasn't immediately clear who Rapinoe was referring to in her tweet, especially because the Twitter account for Kai, who is of Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese and Caucasian descent, has since been deleted. This came just a day after it was announced that Rapinoe had been chosen as Victoria's Secret's new brand spokesperson.
Rapinoe said in an interview with the New York Times that Victoria's Secret was "patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired."
She added, "And it was very much marketed toward younger women."
The lingerie brand announced plans to work with a new group of women in a bid to reflect diversity and inclusivity on Wednesday, June 23. However, it faced considerable pushback after people dug up the soccer player's tweet. "@VictoriasSecret this is your model? What do you think of this take?" wrote one person. "My husband is Asian. His eyes don't look closed unless he's sleeping," another added. "Preaching about racial stereotyping but comes out with this beauty," a third chimed in. "Does @VictoriasSecret stand for anti-Asian hate???" wrote another. One tweet remarked, "Now let’s hope the canceller gets canceled Taste of your own medicine".
@VictoriasSecret this is your model? What do you think of this take?— 💦 Pool 🏊 Patch ☀ Lyds 🌿 (@sourpatchlyds) June 17, 2021
My husband is Asian.— George In Chains (@GeorgeSaysWTH) June 17, 2021
His eyes don't look closed unless he's sleeping.
Preaching about racial stereotyping but comes out with this beauty. pic.twitter.com/zF4SIbGcdL— Rick_the_Red (@Manutdfan_LUHG) June 17, 2021
Now let’s hope the canceller gets cancelled— matt (@thfcmxtt) June 17, 2021
Taste of your own medicine
Victoria's Secret is hoping to reinvent its "sexy" image and replace it with something more in line with "women empowerment." The lingerie maker decided to replace its trademark models, popularly known as "Victoria’s Secret Angels" who walked a year-end fashion show with flamboyant wings to go with the lingerie they modeled. The appeal was evident in terms of projecting the Angels as the benchmark that every woman should aspire to be and whom every man wanted to be with, but with a new line-up to be the face of the company, Victoria's Secret culture is setting new standards.
According to The New York Times, aside from soccer star Rapinoe, 35, the new line-up includes Eileen Gu, 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier and soon-to-be Olympian; Paloma Elsesser, 29-year-old biracial model and inclusivity advocate; and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, a 38-year-old Indian actor, and tech investor.
“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” Martin Waters, the former head of Victoria’s Secret’s international business who was appointed chief executive of the brand said in February. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want," he added.