SuChin Pak, a mainstay on MTV as a correspondent in the early aughts, revealed that she was subjected to racism during her time on the network. Writing about her experience in an Instagram post on March 18, Pak said that a white male co-worker, whom she didn’t name, made racist comments about her when she was seemingly out of earshot. “I overheard a colleague of mine, while watching me do the news that evening, tell a room full of people that I looked like a ‘me sucky sucky love you long time’ whore,” Pak wrote, referencing a line spoken by a Vietnamese prostitute in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film Full Metal Jacket. “I was young, afraid as usual to cause a fuss or be seen as difficult or too ‘sensitive,’ being the only female in the newsroom, so I didn’t say anything in the moment.” Pak said the the room full of people, “mostly women,” didn’t think anything of the “misogynistic, violent, racist language.”
In the aftermath of the incident, Pak says that she “fought to have this person removed” and stopped coming into work at MTV until the matter was resolved. “The executives tried to mediate and reconcile, but I refused. It dragged on for months,” she wrote. “I just had a sinking feeling in my gut that I had to do this. It’s the kind of sinking feeling though that doesn’t give you strength, or bravery, it was the kind that kept me in bed for a month crying, scared, and uncertain about everything.” Pak hired a lawyer “who believed that I could not walk back into a place that harbored this kind of hate” but was met with continued opposition from MTV, which, she claims, was “fighting to keep this man in a place of visibility and power, to shrink me down to submission and silence.” The final attempt at reconciliation, Pak says, involved the man writing her a formal letter of apology. “I walked out, never touched, or opened that letter,” she explained.
Pak said that the racially motivated Atlanta shootings, in which six Asian women were murdered, encouraged her to open up about this incident for the first time. “Asians have been the butt of jokes, but these jokes are not to be dealt with lightly. These jokes are just the timid veneer that hide violence, hate, misogyny, racism, and white supremacy,” she wrote. “Be angry. Be fucking enraged. And then do something to repair this damage.”