Update: “Was UCLA 'Asians in the Library' Video One Big Publicity Stunt?

Update: Death threats, poli-sci finals and the First Amendment. See also, “Alexandra Wallace: Asian American YouTube Responses to Her Racist Rant” and “Alexandra Wallace-Inspired 'Ching Chong' T-Shirts to Fund Japan Relief Efforts.”

Updated with the university's response. Plus: UCLA Chancellor Gene Block makes a video of his own, and bikini pics of Wallace turn up to join the shitshow.

Alexandra Wallace — equipped with a dorm room, a pushup bra, a webcam and two minutes fifty-two seconds too much free time — managed to ignite a “Kill the Beast”-caliber Internet mob in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon.

As reports of thousands more deaths and unthinkable destruction in the aftermath of Japan's 9.0 earthquake streamed in, Wallace made the reputation-shattering decision to take her beef with “these hordes of Asian people that UCLA accepts into our school every year” public:

The lowlights (pretty much the entire thing):

“So we know that I'm not the most politically correct person, so don't take this offensively…”

“If you're going to come to UCLA, then use American manners.”

“Seriously, without fail, you will always see old Asian people running around this apartment complex every weekend. That's what they do — they don't teach their kids to fend for themselves.”

“You know what they don't also teach them? Is their manners. Which brings me to my next point: Hi. In America, we do not talk on our cell phones in the library! I swear, every five minutes I will be — OK, not five minutes, say like, 15 minutes — I'll be like deep into my studying, into my political-science theories and arguments and all that stuff, getting it all down, like typing away furiously, blah blah blah… and then all of a sudden, when I'm about to like, reach an epiphany — over here from somewhere, 'OHHH! CHING CHONG LING LONG TING TONG? OHHH!'

“So being the polite nice American girl that my momma raised me to be, I kind of just gave him … 'It's the library, like we're trying to study, thanks!' And then it's the same thing five minutes later. But it's somebody else, you know? I swear they're going through their whole families, just checking on everybody from the tsunami thing. … Like, you seriously should go outside if you're going to do that.”

Wow. “Too soon” doesn't begin to cover this. (And, uh, from what we can remember of life at an Asian-heavy UC campus, the droves of Wallace clones were equally guilty of interrupting quiet time during finals week.)

When an initial barrage of negative comments apparently made Wallace realize what she had gotten herself into, the UCLA blonde quickly pulled her rant off the Web — but not before numerous Asian advocate groups and viral video-sniffers had gotten a hold of it, re-posting and immortalizing her ditzy hate speech for the viewing pleasures of many more indignant commenters to come.

By Sunday night, “Asians at the Library” had been shared by tens of thousands of Facebook users and even made its way onto Tosh.0. Then there was the obligatory stream of remixes of her racist rant, wringing the musicality of the “Ching Chong” bit for all it's worth. (Wallace appears to have removed her Model Mayhem profile amid the shitstorm.)

University spokesman Phil Hampton told the Daily Bruin last night that the video was “repugnant,” and couldn't confirm if Wallace was actually enrolled at UCLA.

From the Bruin:

“The comments on there are contrary to the values the university believes in,” Hampton said. …

A number in the university directory listed under Alexandra Wallace was disconnected as of Sunday night.

Many commenters have also been sticking up for Wallace's right to free speech. What do you think? Should she be suspended? Expelled? Or is this a mass overreaction/21st century witch hunt?

Update, March 14, 9:10 a.m.: UCLA Chancellor Gene Block is racking up more Facebook notifications this morning than Santa Claus at Christmastime. University spokesman Phil Hampton tells us that Block will have an official statement posted to his wall by late this morning, as well as to the UCLA Newsroom.

For now, says Hampton, while university officials look into Wallace's student status, they're sticking to the stance that “the comments made in that video are deeply offensive… and contrary to UCLA's values.”

And in terms of discipline:

“There is a student code of conduct that governs these things, and if in fact the person is a student, we'll be looking into if there are any violations,” says Hampton. “But I'm not going to pre-judge that.”

A similar event took place at UC San Diego last year, when one student planned a “Compton Cookout” party to “honor” Black History Month, and — a few days later — another made a highly offensive racial slur against black students on the student-run TV station. After similar statements from university officials, no further disciplinary actions were taken, based largely on the First Amendment and the fact that no tangible threats had been made by the students in question.

Update, 4 p.m.: Fittingly, UCLA Chancellor Block has chosen to respond to Wallace's video with his own foray into the wide world of webcams — though his choice of attire is a tad more conservative. “Regardless of how offended I am, or you may be… I hope we can remain civil in our discourse,” he says:

Good luck with that. Co-Ed Magazine just released 26 photos of Wallace in a string bikini — and they're almost as hot as the topic at hand.

Hey, she took 'em. We're just here to report the facts.

Meanwhile, UCLA officials still haven't addressed their plans (or non-plans) to take disciplinary action against the newly infamous student.

Update, 7:30 p.m.: Wallace released the following statement to the Daily Bruin today:

“Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate. I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I'd like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand.”

Update, March 15, 6:45 a.m.: The UCLA student newspaper is really riding this one out until the bitter end — taking a personal, offender-as-victim approach in its latest episode of the “Asians in the Library” saga.

Campus police tell the Bruin that Wallace began receiving death threats to both her e-mail inbox and phone by Sunday evening:

Police advised her to take a number of precautions and are currently working to ensure her safety, Greenstein said.

“If she's received a death threat, I find that as deplorable as her original YouTube video. If this is the response of students on campus, we've got a lot of work to do,” said Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students.

Wallace's poli-science professor divulges that those “precautions” included re-scheduling her finals, as the Internet mob had apparently gotten ahold of her exam locations. (Now that's dedication.)

“What Wallace did was hurtful and inexcusable, but the response has been far more egregious,” the professor told student reporters. “She made a big mistake, and she knows it, but … they responded with greater levels of intolerance.”

Last night, all the major L.A. news networks dove for their piece of the pie, globbing onto the shocking story of a buxom blonde chick wildly ranting on her Asian classmates while a nuclear crisis rages across the globe: CBS, ABC, NBC, KTLA, FOX and the rest.

And contrary to their “UCLA May Punish Student” headlines, a comment in the Bruin from Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Robert Naples — “but he cautioned that the code does not usurp the authority of the First Amendment” — suggests the university is well aware they have no grounds on which to do so.

Originally posted March 14 at 6:30 a.m.


LA Weekly