GOP candidate sues Texas Tribune amid uproar over comments on Chinese immigrants

A Texas congressional candidate on Monday sued The Texas Tribune for defamation, claiming that the newspaper wrongly identified her as a “racist.”

In an article, Texas Tribune political reporter Patrick Svitek reported on comments made by Sery Kim, a Korean American who is on the ballot for Texas’s 6th Congressional District, during a GOP forum March 31. Responding to a question about U.S. immigration, Kim reportedly said, “I don’t want them here at all.” According to the Tribune, she was referring to Chinese immigrants.

“They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable,” she continued, according to the Tribune.

“And quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean,” she reportedly added.

The Tribune article in question ran with the headline, “GOP congressional candidate in Texas special election loses prominent supporters after racist comment about Chinese immigrants.”

Following these comments, two of Kim’s largest backers, California Reps. Young Kim (R) and Michelle Steel (R) — the first two Korean American Republicans to serve in Congress — pulled their endorsements for her.

In the lawsuit, Kim claimed that the Tribune “rendered judgment on what is the standard for a racist comment” by using the quote from Kim, “I don’t want them here at all,” later adding that “The Texas Tribune’s direct quote from Sery Kim does not have any words relating to China, Chinese, Chinese immigrants or any nouns or pronouns or even adjectives other than ‘them.’ ”

According to the lawsuit, the paper acted with actual malice by writing “outside of the direct quote made by Sery Kim,” the phrase Chinese immigrants “to paint Sery Kim as a racist.”

The lawsuit adds that “at no point” during the forum “did Sery Kim, in direct quotes, say she didn’t want Chinese immigrants here at all.”

Sery Kim also claimed that the Tribune did not report on examples of “intense backlash” that she provided to the paper, instead only writing about Reps. Young Kim and Steel rescinding their endorsements.

“Calling me a ‘racist’ is how leftist media practices its brand of politically-correct discrimination against conservatives like myself,” Sery Kim wrote in a statement.

“I am an Asian and an immigrant, and it is shocking the liberal media would identify me as anti-Asian and anti-immigrant. The truth is that China is the biggest threat to our nation. The Chinese Communist Party steals our intellectual property, perpetuates genecide, spies on Texans, and had a role in spreading coronavirus around the world,” she added.

Kim is running to fill the late Rep. Ron Wright’s (R-Texas) seat, who died in February after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Hill has reached out to the Tribune for comment.

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