An activist who led the walkout of Netflix employees in protest of Dave Chappelle's comedy special "The Closer" has been revealed to have a history of making racist, anti-Asian comments on Twitter. This comes as the Biden administration has taken action this year in the form of executive orders to combat AAPI hate. The activist does not work for Netflix.
Ashlee Marie Preston, who is listed as a "Host/Media Personality & Social Entrepreneur" on Instagram, worked with others to organize the walkout. Preston, a black trans woman, spoke at the event outside Netflix headquarters. Preston, who has written for Bazaar and Forbes, is dedicated to work elevating minorities, pointing out discrimination, and LGBTQ+ issues.
Even so, a look into Preston's Twitter archives show that this advocacy does not appear to extend to all minorities, as Preston has had harsh words for those in the Asian and Latino/a communities over their appearance and behavior. Preston appears to take behavior from individual encounters with people who are Asian and use that to find reason to be prejudiced against the entire race.
She wrote that "Asian hoes act like they wont get karate chopped in they muthaf*kn throat. What is this hoe staring at? Mind ya beeswax #B*tch."
"Latino and Asian businesses need 2 stop bein ride & f*kn disrespectful," Preston wrote, "& I kno its A LOT to ask in CA but speak f*kn English 2* #yahisaidit."
"Another damn Asian almost hit my while crossin, what the f*ck is it wit yall and damn vehicles? I have an idea..." Preston wrote on Twitter.
"Mcdonalds on wilshire....eating my salad and protein wrap. Dis asian n*gg* keep lookin at me..." Preston wrote. And it wasn't the first time that Preston used that racial slur for Asian people. "This Asian n*gg* in the subway, gotta fat ass...he almost looks like bitch from behind..." Preston tweeted.
"Jus broke my phone on this Asian bitches head...I have Asian friends..but they some muthaf*ckn #weirdo sometimes #saiditbutwasallthinkit," she tweeted.
"Almost got hit by an Asian in a BMW as I crossed the street...yes I know what you mean but the important this it that we didn't said it," Preston wrote.
"I don't do Mexican Asian or samoan," Preston wrote.
"Just cussed that Asian bitch clean the f*ck out...u mess up my order & THEN blame me?? #englishismyfirstlanguage b*tch. Never ordern again."
These tweets, from 2010 and 2011, are relevant in light of Preston's current advocacy for the black and trans community.
Preston slurred a Latina woman by calling her a "transvestite," even though she herself is transgender.
Preston was with Sen. Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign, acting as a surrogate in California, before her racist and misogynist tweets were uncovered.
Business Insider reported in 2019 that "Preston's old tweets display comments that are racist, homophobic, and misogynistic in nature."
Preston wrote that "#TheThingIhatemMost…When Companies Have Reps In India & China Taking Calls For Them… I Never Understand Wtf They Are Saying," in February 2012. "What Do U Call A Chinese Drive By Shooting ?? Cappuccino," Preston mused on Twitter.
Despite these comments, Preston said that it is Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, who has stuck up for Chappelle while attempting to do damage control within the company, who doesn't "understand intersectionality" and is "out of touch."
Identifying Preston as "a leading trans advocate," Business Insider quoted Preston telling activists at the Wednesday rally outside Netflix headquarters:
"I think, ultimately, we're up against a new emergence of the 'hate economy,' and there is this manipulation of algorithmic science that distorts the way that we perceive ourselves and others. And I think that companies like Netflix, Facebook, and Instagram, they play into it and they monetize it."
Preston has worked with the Transgender Service Provider Network and as chair of trans issues for the Stonewall Democratic Club.
Surrounded by reporters at the rally outside Netflix HQ in LA on Wednesday, Preston demanded that if Netflix wanted to support transgender identified employees in the company, they should give those people a raise for "for putting their trauma up for the world to see."
She said that transgender Netflix employees "don't have the same protection, don't have the same equity, don't have the same power..." but she didn't compare them to anyone, or offer any reason for believing this.
Preston demanded that Netflix be more "intentional" about providing access to power for transgender identified employees.
Preston's vitriol against Asian minorities, Latinos, and people for whom English is a second language, are a sharp contrast to her statements that her "activism is quite literally rooted in transformative justice and healing harm through dialogue."
Preston went on to advocate for "Cross-cultural solidarity."
In March amid anti-Asian hate attacks, President Joe Biden said: "Too many Asian Americans have been walking up and down the streets and worrying, waking up each morning the past year feeling their safety and the safety of their loved ones are at stake. They've been attacked, blamed, scapegoated, and harassed. They've been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed … The conversation we had today with the AAPI leaders, and that we’re hearing all across the country, is that hate and violence often hide in plain sight. And it's often met with silence. That's been true throughout our history, but that has to change — because our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit. We have to speak out. We have to act."