Live playback from your Virginia Studio, YouTuber Nguy Vu has black hair down to his shoulders and wears tinted dark-rimmed glasses. During a recent appearance, he brought to the screen an image of protesters against hate crimes against Asia.
“Why don’t they protest today when they killed ten white people?” Vu he said in Vietnamese, in reference to the Boulder King Soopers mass shooting in March. “This is all just propaganda for Democrats!”
A former radio host, Nguy Vu – AKA Kingradio – has been involved in the YouTube game since 2019. In an email exchange with VICE World News, Vu said his fans like to call him Vietnamese Rush Limbaugh, after the late shock radio host who pioneered right-wing internet rhetoric. But with his theatrical and booming voice, the trend toward conspiracy theories and commercials own brand miracle cream, Vu is perhaps more of a Vietnamese Alex Jones.
Although almost not as well known as the far-right conspiracy theorist, Vu is a big name among Vietnamese American Republicans, the only Asian ethnic group that had a net rating of favorability for Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, according to the survey of Asian American voters.
By email, Vu was kind and polite, far removed from the pantomime villain he plays online. He explained that as a Vietnamese refugee who came to America by boat and fled a communist regime, he wanted to show the world what the desire for freedom was like. Since coming to the United States, Vu has tried to be one musician, a writerand, for the past 25 years, a radio host, having He worked at Little Saigon Radio in California before going out alone in Virginia. But none of those races got the next one Vu has now found online.
Since shooting his YouTube channel, Vu has become notorious among first- and second-generation Vietnamese Americans, who watch with concern as their parents consume videos containing misinformation and conspiracy theories. A Vietnamese man re-uploaded the videos Vu withdrew after receiving alerts on his YouTube channel misinformation researcher to show the detrimental impact of Vu’s rhetoric.
They show theories like Mel Gibson exhibiting an underground Hollywood pedophile ring, i Bill Gates creates a COVID-19 vaccine to control the US and finally the world. When one of his critics, Nguyen Nhu Quynh, denounced Vu online for spreading misinformation, he called for his followers to “grab a hand and grit his teeth.”
When asked about the specific videos, Vu declined to comment on whether he promotes conspiracy theories or spreads misinformation. She said she also did not recall promoting violence against Nguyen, but added, “My job is to report news and eliminate parasitic people like her.”
With nearly 100,000 subscribers, each of its one-hour streams can rack up tens of thousands of views, but its tracking doesn’t stop there. Vu has organized pro-Trump rallies, where he encourages his aged followers to take off his masks or, like a naughty child from school, leave himself on the bus. Vu concentrations grew on January 5, the day before the riots of the Capitol, when he gathered the fans with a bull horn in what was called “King team Trump day 9”. Although he was seen with his followers Jake Angeli, the “QAnon Shaman,” at the Capitol, Vu claimed he was not in DC on the day of the riot.
Recent years have seen an increase in the aging of the Vietnamese diaspora that resorted to YouTube, Facebook, and messaging apps to receive news, as major U.S. media outlets do not align with their political tendencies or broadcast on his first language. Republican Facebook pages in Vietnamese, such as TIN NÓNG HOA KỲ (US Hot News) i Những Người Yêu Mến Donald J. Trump (Donald J. Trump Lovers) it can attract tens of thousands of fans.
Although traffic slowed when Trump lost the election, with odds that some listeners were tired of the same old material, the hosts simply shifted their rhetoric to masks and COVID-19. They then took on anti-Asian hate crimes.
In late March, shortly after the Atlanta shooting, which killed eight people – six of whom were women of Asian descent – Vu began perfecting his theories with suggestion that the trend it was cooked by the Democrats.
While anti-Asian fanaticism has long been a fact of life in the United States, researchers and advocates say the COVID-19 pandemic, along with statements from former President Trump’s “Chinese virus” and the ” kung flu, ”fueled an increase in hate crimes directed around 150% last year. Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that controls hate crimes against the Asian American community and the Pacific Islands, released a report in early May showing 3,000 reports of violence against the AAPI community in March 2021 alone: 8.8% of whom were targeted at Vietnamese Americans.
AAPI reports range from racial insults, to physical assaults and online hate speech. The most recent attacks since the report was released include two Asian women, one 63 and the other 84, who were stabbed. soon May while waiting for a bus, and four attacks on Asians people in New York, one of which included a hammer.
But the denial of anti-Asian fanaticism in Vu’s videos wasn’t a shock to his critics either. For a long time, Boomer influencers like Vu have sent QAnon-like conspiracies into cyberspace so that older American Vietnamese can consume them.
To combat the rhetoric of Vu and his comrades, young Vietnamese Americans have taken to the mantle to protect their elders from misinformation. Over the past two years, several independent organizations and monitors have sprung up to inform listeners and remove videos by reporting them to YouTube, although this has yielded mixed results.
One of these independent monitors, Nick Nguyen, principal investigator of Checking prohibited data, managed to see the removal of Vu’s video questioning anti-Asian violence after an email on YouTube, though he hasn’t had much luck since. Another monitor passing by False police online, but preferred to be identified simply as “Peter” for fear of possible retribution from far-right groups, he helped find and translate many of the YouTube monologues featured in this story. Peter has been tagging Vietnamese videos on YouTube for months, but he said his attempts to see the withdrawal of the videos have also failed.
But it’s not just independent organizations and online watchdogs that face this problem. Rachel Moran and Sarah Nguyen of the Information School and the University of Washington began studying the spread of misinformation of Vietnamese-American groups earlier this year, following the presidential election. They realized that, although extensive research had been done on misinformation in English, little effort had been made to understand how misinformation proliferates in various communities in the diaspora.
Nguyen began monitoring communities on Telegram and WhatsApp. Here, he noticed similar rhetoric applied to the Stop Asian Hate protests that reflected the language used in the Black Lives Matter protests a year earlier. “They’re the same memes and the same videos shared over and over again,” Nguyen said.
YouTube’s attempts to counter the misinformation led the company to introduce it “Information panels”, which will appear when you search for or watch videos related to misinformation-prone topics, such as COVID-19 and lunar landings. These provide information from independent third-party partners to try to better understand the issue.
But critics say these panels, which are in English or Spanish, prove to be of little value to communities that speak other languages. YouTube stated that its approach to tackling misinformation is global and applies to all languages.
“We’re eliminating content that violates our community guidelines, increasing authoritative content, and reducing limit content recommendations in every market we operate in. When it comes to rape videos, YouTube has more than 20,000 people worldwide , including those with Vietnamese and non-English language experience, who work to detect, review and remove content that violates our policies, “YouTube spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said in an email.
To some extent, this has worked. According to YouTube, Vu has received two attacks against his channel and a third would lead to a permanent ban.
But Nick Nguyen, the head of research at Checking prohibited data, thinks that more needs to be done to recognize misinformation in languages other than English. After all, this is a problem that occurs in some cases half an hour’s drive from YouTube’s offices, at home in Palo Alto or San Jose, with the largest population of Vietnamese Americans in the country.
“They just have no excuses,” Nick Nguyen said. “This is just one more example of discrimination against non-English speakers in the US”
“This is just one more example of discrimination against non-English speakers in the US”
In his exchanges with VICE World News, Vu seemed to backtrack on some of his claims and said he is no longer so quick to deny attacks on Asian Americans. “I think the crimes against Asians are really bad and I condemn those crimes,” Vu said, before adding several warnings.
“But a lot of people use them for different purposes, soliciting donations of fraud and many other frauds that use Asian hatred as a purpose.”
Vu went on to explain his warm idea of the situation. He said the Asian community is blessed to live in this “free country”; that these crimes occur between individuals, not an entire community, and that while “random” may not be the right word for the situation, he believed it was something at this stage.
“In the end, I don’t want to take sides,” Vu said. “My audience knows and appreciates that it helps them understand what’s going on in this country.”
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