Media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner apologized Tuesday for comments he made about China and Chinese people before the Bay Area Council last week in a talk on global warming.
Bay Area leaders had objected to his use of the term “Chinaman.”
When asked before an audience of 1,000 business and community leaders last Thursday about how to win China’s cooperation in reducing greenhouse gases, Turner said: “The Chinese are very smart. Just think: Have you ever met a dumb Chinaman?
Community leaders and officials at the council immediately called for an apology.
“It was not the right thing to say, for someone like Ted Turner, who was talking about the need to reach out and make friends to accomplish what’s really the world’s business on the issue of global warming,” Jim Wunderman, the council’s chief executive, said Tuesday.
“As many people know, I do not believe in any form of prejudice or discrimination and was unaware that the term ‘Chinaman’ was derogatory and hurtful to the Asian Pacific American community.”
Vincent Pan, director of the Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco, said, “As someone is very involved in domestic and world politics, I think it’s a bit suspect for him to suggest that he didn’t realize it was a derogatory.
Yvonne Lee, a former commissioner of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, said the apology was the first step, but she wants him to agree to further “dialogue between different communities.”