DC real estate agency sparks outrage over ‘long love you’ email

A Washington, DC-based real estate agency is in hot water for sending an email with the subject line “I’ve loved you for a long time.”

Edens, a promoter and owner of the Union Market District, reportedly sent out the newsletter on July 13 to promote the market, which serves as a culinary epicenter in the nation’s capital.

The offensive subject is an apparent play on “I’ve loved you a long time,” an infamous line from the 1987 movie “Full Metal Jacket.” In the film, the line was used by a Vietnamese sex worker soliciting an American soldier.

Kevin Tien, head of Moon Rabbit and co-founder of Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate, and Erik Bruner-Yang, head of Maketto and founder of the Power of 10 initiative, called Edens in a petition demanding an apology and offering the agency an opportunity for correction. The chefs explained why the expression is harmful, especially for Asian women.

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“While the intent of the message may have been different, the effect of these words on the AAPI community is harmful and has infiltrated a long history of colonialism and anti-AAPI racism,” Tien wrote. “It is used to dehumanize Asian and Asian-American women into sex objects.”

Tien also cited a 2021 article for Squire by Thuc Nguyen, who detailed how the phrase inspires violence against Asian women, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For many Asian American women, hearing the phrase ‘I’ve loved you for a long time’ can be completely dehumanizing and traumatic,” Nguyen wrote. “It’s a weaponized phrase deployed to belittle Asian Diaspora women, to prank us. It’s used to reduce Asian and Asian-American women to sex objects.

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“Asian hate crimes have been disproportionately an Asian women’s issue. Sixty-one percent of reported incidents happened to Asian and Diaspora Asian women, largely because of their hypersexualization.

Brunner-Yang said he was personally offended by the subject line.

“For me personally, it was really upsetting because my wife owns a bubble tea shop,” he said. Washingtonian. “It’s like a phrase used as a weapon against my mother, who is an immigrant. The Asian women in my life have been dubbed this phrase for as long as I can remember.

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In their petition, the Chiefs called for a public apology acknowledging that the phrase is sexist, racist and violent. They also called for a community meeting between Edens CEO Jodi W. Mclean, DC-based AAPI tenants and local leaders and the creation of an AAPI employee resource center within Edens.

Edens issued a statement apology via Union Market District’s Instagram account on Thursday. The company said it was “deeply sorry” for the incident.

“Your concerns about the offensive marketing language used in our latest Field Report newsletter have been heard, and we are deeply sorry. While we do not intend to offend anyone, we are clear that that intent doesn’t matter in this situation,” Edens noted.

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“We agree that every mistake is an opportunity to be better than we were before by recognizing our blind spots and taking immediate action to learn more about anti-Asian hatred and issues affecting the AAPI community. “

Edens said he would start with his own team and include mandatory implicit bias training, cultural sensitivity training and marketing review protocols. The company also pledged to invest in a public campaign that “helps raise awareness of AAPI issues and critical groups that support the AAPI community.”

Image selected via CD Union Market / change.org

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