'Obviously racist': MLA Dang says UCP staffers followed anti-Asian parody account
NDP MLA Thomas Dang. (Source: Alberta NDP)
EDMONTON -- NDP MLA Thomas Dang spoke out Wednesday night about a racist parody account that linked him to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the Wu-Tang Clan and described him as “unintelligible.”
The account came under fire on Twitter after commenters noticed it was being followed by several UCP staff members, including high-ranking officials in Premier Jason Kenney’s office.
“It’s deeply disappointing that at the same time UCP MLAs were voting for my anti-racism motion in the legislature, their political staff were enjoying this kind of obviously racist content,” Dang said in a statement to CTV News Edmonton.
The account was suspended, making its tweets and followers inaccessible, Wednesday night.
It was not clear who created or managed the account.
Screen captures posted by commenters suggested at least eight people working for the government followed the account, including Matt Wolf, Kenney's executive director of issues management.
A screen grab of Wolf liking a recent tweet from the account was also posted.
CTV News Edmonton called the premier's press secretary for comment but a message was not returned.
One of the staff members that appeared to follow the account, the education minister's press secretary Nicole Sparrow, pointed out she follows hundreds of accounts and wasn’t immediately aware of one that was a parody of Dang.
Sparrow said she’d look into it, but didn’t immediately respond.
Dang, the representative for Edmonton-South has been speaking out against racism, particularly affecting people of Asian descent, for weeks.
“Racism and racist violence are on the rise in our society. Several Albertans have been violently assaulted recently in hate-motivated attacks. Anti-Asian racism has surged during the pandemic. This is unacceptable and I will always confront it,” Dang’s statement said.
“I will continue to press Jason Kenney and the UCP to take real action and enact legislation to combat racism and the use of hateful symbols and images.”
Reaction to the revelation was swift, with a number of commenters demanding an explanation: