Change.org removed a petition requesting that Congress change the official name of the coronavirus to “kung flu.”
The petition asked the public to push Congress to change the highly contagious disease’s name to the “Kung Flu,” a controversial term allegedly used by a White House official in the presence of an Asian reporter.
It also contained the lyrics to Carl Douglas’ 1974 hit song, “Kung Fu Fighting,” modified to replace the words “Kung Fu” with “Kung Flu.”
As of Thursday, Google search results still showed a url for the petition.
However, the link directed users to an error message on Change.org.
In an emailed statement to Pluralist,Change.org confirmed that it removed the petition because it violated the site’s “community guidelines.”
Chinese-born American journalist Weijia Jiang claimed on Tuesday that she’d been subjected to a racial remark from a White House official, whom she declined to identify.
“This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the ‘Kung-Flu’ to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back,” the CBS reporter tweeted.
Journalists, politicians and critics of President Donald Trump rushed to offer their condemnation of the alleged comments.
“I am so sorry that you have to suffer from this kind of horrible racism when you are simply doing your job,” tweeted NBC legal contributor Katie Phang.
Yamiche Alcindor, a “PBS NewsHour” White House correspondent and contributor for NBC News and MSNBC, asked Trump about the incident during a press conference on Wednesday.
My Q: Are WH officials using term "Kong-Flu" to describe coronavirus wrong? And, are you concerned that term "Chinese virus" will put Asian-Americans at risk of being targeted?
Pres Trump: "Not at all. I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent."
Full video below. https://t.co/3VnTahx2BQ
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 18, 2020
She demanded to know if he thought it was “wrong.”
“I wonder who said that,” Trump replied coyly. “Do you know who said that?”
“I’m not sure the person’s name,” Alcindor said.
“Say the term again,” the president demanded.
“A person at the White House used the term ‘Kung flu,’” Alcindor said.
“Kung flu?” Trump mused.
“Kung flu,” Alcindor said yet again. “Do you think the term is wrong? And do you think using the term ‘Chinese virus’ puts Asian Americans at risk, that people will target them?”
“No, not at all,” Trump said in response to her follow-up question, which he had previously addressed during the briefing. “I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent. It comes from China. There’s nothing not to agree [with].”