josh tolentino
Twitter: Josh Tolentino

Tampa Bay Rays sports reporter Josh Tolentino racially abused at supermarket

A Filipino-American sports reporter for The Athletic was racially abused as he exited a supermarket in downtown St. Petersberg, Florida. Josh Tolentino said a “white couple” yelled at him “Kung Flu,” and told him to “go back to China,” just outside Publix supermarket. He took to Twitter to report what happened to him.

“I visited Publix in downtown St. Pete yesterday and now I wonder the next time I’ll leave my apartment for a grocery run,” he wrote on the notebook app. “As I was exiting the store, I became victim of racist attacks from a white couple. They both referred to me as “Kung Flu” several times, told me to go back to China with the virus and mocked me for wearing a mask.”

Tolentino told Patch, that the white couple couldn’t get into the store because they weren’t wearing face masks. It looks like the two took their anger out on Tolentino.

“They were upset that they couldn’t get in, and saw an Asian American coming out and started yelling at me,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino initially didn’t want to share this horrible experience due to the politics involved. But he got the confidence to open up after he got some guidance from mentors.

“What I want to shed more light on is the awareness of it,” Tolentino said. “In the Asian culture, we’re taught to be quiet, but stuff like this has been happening for too long to Asians and Blacks, and we must start speaking up.”

Although he was hesitant at first about sharing the ordeal, his tweet has been liked over 6000 times and retweeted nearly 2000 times.

“I am not COVID-19; I am not the Chinese Virus; and I am not the Kung Flu,” Josh Tolentino wrote. “I am not responsible for the virus and neither are the Asians being attacked across the U.S. I am a proud second generation Filipino American.”

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