A college basketball fan was kicked out of a game this week and banned from future events after making anti-Asian racist gestures at other fans.
During a game at Northwestern University, a fan of the visiting University of Wisconsin Badgers was seen giving the home team fans the middle finger and making racist gestures.
There were audible gasps from fans and the incident went viral on TikTok and Twitter.
When confronted by Northwestern security, the man refused to leave and was eventually escorted out by police, making the gestures again as he left the arena.
Alyssa Eckels, a freshman at Northwestern, was in the third row of a student section when her friends noticed the man and began pointing at him.
“Every time we would score or do something good, he would turn over to us and pull at his eyes. But like, not even just with his fingers, it was his middle fingers like he was trying to flick us off,” she told NBC Asian America.
Ms Eckels said that the student section began to chant “Kick him out” when security arrived. She said the incident was offensive to her and the other students around her, many of whom are also of Asian descent.
“I’m half-Asian. A lot of people don’t know my ethnicity or a lot of people just assume I’m white,” she said. “I don’t feel like I face that many microaggressions or actual racism against me specifically. I just haven’t encountered it a lot, and so that was kind of my first time. It was directed at all of us.”
Nearly 25 per cent of Northwestern’s freshman class is Asian. The university called the incident “unacceptable and a violation of university values and our fan code of conduct”.
The University of Wisconsin has also condemned the fan’s “offensive anti-Asian gestures”. Both colleges identified the man and he is not a current student or employee of Wisconsin.
He has been banned from future athletic events.
“We join with @UWBadgers and all #Badgers in condemning the abhorrent anti-Asian actions of an attendee at the Northwestern game this week,” a tweet from the university says.
“We applaud NU for removing him. He is no longer welcome at UW Athletics events — we are barring him from buying tickets on our platform.”
A further statement from the university reads: “We also want to acknowledge that hateful behavior like this still happens far too often, on and off-campus — towards members of our Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American community as well as other marginalised communities.”
“It inflicts pain and fear and causes students, staff, and faculty to feel unwelcome and unsafe.”
Stop AAPI Hate says that one in five Asian American and Pacific Islanders say they have experienced a hate incident in the last year.
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