Chloe Bennett is calling out President Donald Trump for his repeated use of "Chinese virus" in reference to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has been denounced by world health leaders as "absolutely wrong and inappropriate," despite the president's insistence the term is not racially charged. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star took to Instagram Wednesday to call out Trump as "racist" in a lengthy message, urging people to call the pandemic virus by its scientifically correct name to avoid an increase in xenophobia or racism.
"The Asian American community needs allies right now. Please speak out against the racist Cheeto in Chief," Bennet wrote on Instagram. Assuring her followers she is "in no way attempting to minimize the macro-economic crisis we're now facing" and that "pointing fingers will not solve any health problems," Bennet added that calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" is "unacceptable."
"I'm not ignorant to the fact that this outbreak, form what we know, originated in China, but guys, we are WAY past that now," she continued. "This is NOT a time for division, this is a time for unity." She also included a humorous list of "non-racially charged nicknames" for the coronavirus, including "The Rona," "The Viddy," and "Vid Vid." Read her full post here:
View this post on Instagram
Bennet isn't the only celeb to call out Trump's rhetoric, with To All the Boys I've Loved Before actress Lana Condor also sharing an emotional note on social media regarding the issue.
"Be better. To wake up to your chaos is truly a nightmare. Please. Be better," she wrote in the caption of the note. "To my followers- be safe. I love you," before continuing to her message to the president. "You have no idea the ramifications your racist words & actions have on the Asian American community," Condor opened her message to Trump. "You simply cannot even fathom the danger you are putting our community in. How dare you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You call yourself a leader? You know what leaders do? They LEAD by setting good examples and ACTION. Something we've yet to see you do. You need to take notes on Chinese billionaire Jack Ma who is ACTUALLY leading – by donating tests and millions of masks to America, [because] you haven't. Please. Be better. So we aren't afraid to leave our house in fear someone will verbally or physically abuse us because of your xenophobia."
Celebrities are far from the only ones speaking out against the term. The Director of The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield agreed during his House testimony Tuesday that it was "absolutely wrong and inappropriate" to call the virus the "Chinese coronavirus," noting that the virus is also widespread in South Korea, Iran and Italy.
Mike Ryan, head of the WHO's health emergency programs, spoke similarly to a reporter from the South China Morning Post at a WHO press conference Wednesday.
"I think we've been very clear right since the beginning of this event that viruses know no borders and they don't care [about] your ethnicity, the color of your skin, how much money you have in the bank," Ryan said.
"It's really important that we are careful in the language we use lest it lead to profiling of individuals associated with the virus," he added. "This is just something we need to all avoid. It's easy in situations to summarize or to make comments that are not intended to do that but ultimately end up having that outcome. I'm sure anyone would regret profiling a virus along ethnic lines. That's not something anybody would want."
Photo credit: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images