Philadelphia Public Record apologizes for offensive photo caption

UPDATE (Sept. 5, 2014)

The Philadelphia Public Record has published a front page apology for the offensive photo caption that Media Watch issued a statement on last month. The paper explained that the caption’s fake Asian sounding names were inserted as a joke by a junior employee who thought they would be caught before publication.

Media Watch applauds publisher Jimmy Tayoun for being proactive and seeking input from Philadelphia Asian American community groups. AAJA and the Philadelphia Chapter stand ready to assist the Public Record in its coverage of the Asian American community.

Harry Mok, MediaWatch Committee


Publisher says employee involved in the incident has been fired

Philadelphia-Public-Record-Photo1We at the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) are disappointed that editors at the Philadelphia Public Record would stoop to using ethnic slurs and tired caricatures of Asian-sounding names in a photo caption published Aug. 21.

The caption in the Public Record adds to the long history of Asian Americans being subjected to slurs for their language and appearance.

We accept the apology from Public Record Publisher Jimmy Tayoun Sr., and we applaud him for issuing a correction online and pledging to publish one in print.

We’re also heartened by his taking personal responsibility: “In the end, I’m responsible because I didn’t read the cutlines like I should have,” he told AAJA.

While we at MediaWatch did not ask for disciplinary action, we acknowledge Tayoun’s extraordinary step in firing the person involved in the incident.

We invite the Public Record to reach out to AAJA’s Philadelphia Chapter for further guidance. The chapter can be reached at

MediaWatch, AAJA’s watchdog program for fair and accurate news coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, also stands ready to assist news organizations that have questions or concerns about covering our communities.

Harry Mok, MediaWatch Committee
Paul Cheung, AAJA National President