Tuesday 20 August 2019

Flood of racist messages and calls forces Green councillor Chu to call gardaí

Hazel Chu has spoken out after receiving hate messages. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Hazel Chu has spoken out after receiving hate messages. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Evie Kearney

A Dublin councillor says she has received hundreds of hate messages and anonymous phone calls after online trolls posted abusive tweets about her nationality.

Irish-born Green Party councillor Hazel Chu started receiving the messages last week after she shared a video online that branded her as "that migrant".

The controversy caused her name to trend on Twitter and an online petition was started, calling for her resignation.

However, Ms Chu said the abuse was coming from a "small minority but a vocal minority", many of whom she believes live overseas.

"This is what happens with dog-whistle politics," she said. "It's not just people within Ireland having a discussion; the small minority is tying in supporters overseas - it makes it a hundred times louder."

Ms Chu told the Irish Independent that she contacted gardaí after receiving anonymous phone calls, which she felt were threatening.

As a councillor, her phone number is publicly accessible for constituents.

"I started receiving phone calls. The first call was just someone breathing very heavily down the phone and by the sixth call, you could hear a radio in the background and that was it. I reported it to the guards, along with the hate mail," she said.

Ms Chu added that she cannot remove her phone number as she wants to be available to her constituents.

"I can't exactly go and hide under a rock just because they don't like me," she said.

"I know that there are plenty of people who don't like me because I happen to not look Irish, and they question my nationality, my ethnicity. But the fact remains whether I'm Irish or not is absolutely nothing to do with them."

Ms Chu, whose parents are originally from Hong Kong, said she experienced racism growing up.

"The problem is there's always been an undertone of people discriminating against others in Ireland," she said.

Irish Independent

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