Gemma Chan forced to pull podcast on infamous anti-Asian murder after complaints from victim’s family

None of the activists or Vincent Chin’s family were consulted about the project

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Actor Gemma Chan’s Hold Still, Vincent podcast, which narrates the story of the murder of ChineseAmerican engineer Vincent Chin, has been removed from all streaming platforms.

The victim’s family said they were not consulted about the project, following which the film and television production company issued an apology.

Originally released on 26 May, the six-episode series was based on the true story of the 27-year-old student who was murdered by two displeased autoworkers. His killers were given merciful sentences, which started a civil rights movement within the Asian American community.

Two days after the podcast was released, Chinese American journalist Helen Zia, who played a crucial role in bringing federal civil rights charges against the perpetrators of Chin’s killing, posted on social media that she does not “know anyone associated with this project and have never been contacted by them.”

“That said, such an important story deserves to be told and every American should know about what happened to Vincent Chin and about this multiracial, multicultural Asian American-centered civil rights movement,” she wrote.

“I hope these various Hollywood projects get the stories right about the AAPI community, because the lessons of the Vincent Chin justice movement are critical to countering today’s tsunami of anti-Asian hate,” she added.

She further wrote a message for the creators of the podcast to “at least check in with the community people who lives these experiences” as the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and its activists “deserve that respect.”

Ms Zia, who was portrayed in the podcast by American actress Kelly Marie Tran also wrote: “I’m not dead yet and it’s weird hearing/seeing myself fictionalised by people who have never tried to connect with me or the estate,” she said.

Chin’s cousin Annie Tan also confirmed in a Twitter post that no one in her family was contacted about this podcast.

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She wrote: “Correct, to my knowledge no one in my family was contacted about this podcast which will become a feature film apparently. (Many groups making content about Vincent Chin have contacted me/other family tho) Not a knock on this project which I know a little about, but..”

“I tried listening to the ‘Hold Still, Vincent’ Chin podcast (honestly the title is triggering to me as a cousin), and the disclaimer in the beginning that events were fictionalised for dramatic effects made me stop playing. I’ll eventually listen to it but I couldn’t last night,” she wrote.

She described the brutal way Chin was beaten to death with a baseball bat. “One of the guys held him down while the other bashed my cousin’s brains into the street,” she wrote.

A-Major Media, a film and television production company dedicated to championing Asian-American voices, issued an apology to the activists and the Chin family.

“On behalf of the producers, we profoundly apologise to Helen Zia and the Vincent Chin Estate for our oversight during the making of Hold Still, Vincent,” the statement posted on Instagram said.

“We are deeply sorry to all the generous partners who came together to donate their time and bear no responsibility for our mistake — Gemma Chan, our incredible cast, QCODE, Phillip Sun (M88), Carmen Cuba and Gold House — as our only motivation was to share Vincent’s story with the world,” the statement said.

The team is in contact with Ms Zia and Chin estate and “have offered to take the podcast down,” the statement said.

“In the meantime, we are disabling the podcast out of respect for Helen and the Estate and will be guided by their wishes,” it concluded.

On 23 June, 1982, Chin was beaten to death in a racially motivated attack by two white men at a strip club in Highland Park, Michigan, where Chin had been celebrating his bachelor party with friends in advance of his upcoming wedding.

His killing was significant for a number of reasons, including how it helped inspire a growing Asian-American civil rights movement and demonstrated the limits of how much courts were willing to prosecute hate-based violence.

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