Asian American Action Fund Calls on Supreme Court Nominee to Clarify Email
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2018
Contact: Caroline Fan, 202-255-9906
Today, during the Senate Judiciary hearings of Brett Kavanaugh for consideration as a United States Supreme Court Justice, it was uncovered that Kavanaugh engaged in an email chain that discussed booking a charter vessel “Su Ching” as a group “rub and tug massage session.” On behalf of the 21 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, the Asian American Action Fund calls on Kavanaugh to repudiate these crass comments.
Because the email was redacted, it’s unclear if Kavanaugh was the author or recipient. Regardless, he should reject these remarks. The presumption among his social circle that an Asian American female name can only refer to a sex worker and that hiring one for a “boys” weekend may have been an acceptable group activity is deeply troubling. According to a Polaris Project survey, Asian Americans are the second largest ethnic group of sexual trafficking survivors. Even if the comment were only a punchline, the pervasive sexualization of Asian women has a deep and pernicious history that has led to terrible policy outcomes.
The 1875 Page Act, the first ever federal restrictive immigration law, effectively prohibited Chinese women from entering the United States, based on a presumption that they were immigrating to become prostitutes. That act was the first racially restrictive ban on immigration, and was the precursor to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Representative Horace Page, the Republican sponsor of the act, referenced a need to prevent “cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women” from entering the country. 
The Asian American Action Fund urges Judge Kavanaugh to clarify that he has not engaged in human trafficking nor had anyone do so on his behalf, and that he repudiates these comments. Regardless of whether or not it was a joke, these stereotypes have historically turned into policy, and still result in present day harm. As someone who wishes to join the highest court in the land, and determine policy, Kavanaugh must repudiate these comments.
Founded in 1999, the Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is an Asian Pacific American Democratic political action committee. AAAFund’s goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) by electing candidates at local, state and federal levels in the United States. George Anthony Peffer, “Forbidden Families: Emigration Experiences of Chinese Women Under the Page Law, 1875-1882,” Journal of American Ethnic History 6.1 (Fall 1986): 28-46. p.28.