Philly newspaper fires editor for calling Asians ‘Chinky Winky’ and ‘Dinky Doo’

Photo Credit: Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla sits with a group of Asian supporters recently. NOT PICTURED are "Chinky Winky," "Dinky Doo" and :Me Too."
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Magazine Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla sits with a group of Asian supporters recently. NOT PICTURED are “Chinky Winky,” “Dinky Doo” and “Me Too.”

In a Democrat-run, racially polarized city in the middle of an election campaign, everybody needs an editor.

Just ask former Philadelphia city-councilman-and-former-federal-prison-inmate-turned newspaper publisher James Tayoun Sr., owner of a free weekly paper in the City of Brotherly Love.

On Aug. 21, Tayoun’s Philadelphia Public Record published a picture of a Philadelphia city councilman attending a fundraiser in the city’s Chinatown section, with a photo caption identifying City Councilman Mark Squilla and a group of supporters – all of them Asian.

Among the “names,” though were a few that weren’t on Squilla’s guest list: “Chinky Winky,” “Dinky Doo” and “Me Too.”

Tayoun is an old-school pol from the South Philly Democrat machine. He served a prison sentence in the early 1990s for racketeering and corruption for cutting deals with developers in between stints as a city councilman and state rep.

In his latest incarnation as publisher of a newspaper that makes its advertising dollar on the city’s racially battled political campaigns races and heavily politicized unions, he tried to shrug off the Asian controversy as a “proofreading error” that got by when a freelance photographer submitted a caption with “nicknames.”

“Nobody is offended,” he said, according to Philadelphia Magazine. “Stop trying to start trouble.”

When it comes to Philadelphia, though, a city where race is an issue in every public discussion from the next mayor to the next Eagles quarterback (at least one of them has to be black), somebody is always offended – or pretending to be.

After a weekend of attention probably more attention than the Public Record has ever seen, Tayoun told the Philadelphia Daily News he’d gotten rid of the staffer who let the slurs get by, though he maintained no slur was intended.

“The Public Record is the most inclusive publication in Philadelphia,” he said.

So just when you think race has calmed down with the end of nightly riots in Missouri, something comes along like this.

If hope isn’t gone, at least it dims sum.


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