Doris Truong, a homepage editor for The Washington Post, is currently being harassed by racist trolls after she was misidentified as another woman of Asian descent who was videotaped appearing to take photos of Rex Tillerson’s notes during his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Secretary of State.
Multiple right-wing blogs, including the Gateway Pundit, first started publishing the misinformation, sending the trolls into a fury. Some sites also suggested the woman in the video might be Inside Climate reporter Lisa Song, who is also Asian.
Truong was nowhere near Tillerson’s hearing when the video in question was recorded—in fact, she wrote in the Washington Post today, it was her day off from work. In Truong’s telling of events, she went to bed Wednesday evening not having looked at the internet all that much, only to wake the next morning to find that angry bigots had flooded multiple social media platforms with harassment.
“Before I could do anything about it, someone had decided the woman was me,” Truong wrote in The Post. “No one ever bothered to contact me, but it was this post that Twitter seized upon overnight. A lot of the comments also focused on my Chinese heritage, implying — or outright stating — that I must be spying for China. Some called for an FBI investigation of what they deemed illegal behavior.”
While the online harassment of women, minorities, and members of the media isn’t a new phenomenon, the speed with which the right picked up on the allegations against Truong are dizzying and made all the more unsettling considering high-profile conservatives like Sarah Palin decided to share the false story.
As Jenn Fang pointed out on the blog Reappropriate, as is obvious to anyone with eyes, Truong and this (still unidentified) woman don’t look like one another. The barrage of nasty comments lodged at Truong and Song stem from the old, racist idea that all Asian people look alike.
“How few Asian or Asian American people must you interact with for you to actually think that either Doris Truong or Lisa Song bears any physical resemblance to the woman pictured in the video,” Fang pondered. “Oh wait, that’s not poor ability to recognize faces talking; that’s racism.”