Antifa and far-left extremists in Seattle are threatening violence and stalking against a local Asian-American journalist for his television news coverage of the homeless crisis and crime in the embattled Pacific Northwest city.
Jonathan Choe, a broadcast journalist at KOMO News, had been sent threatening messages before recently being confronted by masked, far-left activists trying to prevent him from reporting on the city's clean up efforts of homeless encampments. On Twitter, accounts identifying as "antifascist" began devising a plan to hunt down Choe.
"I think we could make Jonathan Choe so widely hated that he physically cannot film in the city," wrote"> "@NegressMilitant" on Twitter on Feb. 24, an account that identifies in its bio as antifascist. "He needs to know he has eyes on him at all times. He needs people to get in his face when he comes all the way from Mukilteo to sh— on our city. This isn't a game." Mukilteo is a suburb next to Seattle.
In a follow-up post, the account stated"> explicitly he "can't be allowed to roam around the city unchecked."
Those who responded to the Antifa account also made disturbing posts.
"Basically we need to do to Choe what Portland has done to [Andy] Ngo. Anyone got a good milkshake handy?" wrote"> another far-left account. Antifa members and their supporters have adopted "milkshake" as a euphemism for violent assault after The Post Millennial editor-at-large was beaten on the head and hurled with drinks in 2019 by an Antifa mob in downtown Portland in a viral incident. Ngo was hospitalized with a brain bleed because of the attack.
Choe has been targeted before for his reporting, but on Feb. 20, while reporting on the two-block homeless encampment near Seattle City Hall, several masked individuals associated with the Antifa homeless "mutual aid" group confronted him, including one wearing an Antifa flag badge.
"Why are you filming here, buddy? I'd keep walking if I were you," said one masked militant who accosted Choe while he was filming.
"This is a regular recurrence and it's problematic for journalists," Choe said. "If you're not with them, or you don't report the way they want you to report a particular story… they make you public enemy number one," Choe said in an interview with The Post Millennial.
On Twitter, various Antifa accounts also discussed making a dossier on Choe that would disseminate information about him along with his photographs. One of the Twitter users agreed with the proposal, calling"> Choe "a danger to our community," echoing language used by Antifa to legitimize and incite threats of violence against Ngo.
Another account made"> an animated graphic calling Choe a "wannabe Andy Ngo" and depicting him being hit in the face with a liquid in an Antifa cup.
Choe wonders if the targeted harassment on himself and other Asian-American journalists is racially motivated given the intensity and relentlessness of the intimidation campaigns.
Far-left group Divest SPD (Seattle Police Department) also made"> a target list on Twitter, calling for comrades to "throw garbage" at Choe, among other Seattle-area journalists covering Antifa protests, including TPM contributor Katie Daviscourt and former Fox 13 Seattle reporter Brandi Kruse.
Since Choe was confronted last week while on the field, far-left accounts have been sending him harassing messages. An"> anarchist account on Twitter named "@LglyActnbleThrt" has repeatedly messaged Choe since December calling him a "white nationalist" who "carries water for racists and fascists every single day."
Choe told TPM that he had been regularly threatened since 2020 for his reporting on violent protests in Seattle after George Floyd died.
"You are NOT welcome. If u want the public and protesters to have a good working relationship with media. STAY AWAY," BLM Gear Heads, a group that distributes riot gear to far-left protesters, messaged Choe in September 2020.
Choe urges support from the journalism community, law enforcement agencies, and elected officials to rally behind reporters who are targeted on the field. He named the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)—media organizations that bill themselves as defenders of the freedom of the press.
"I'm really surprised why they're not out here," Choe said, pressing why the groups aren't issuing public statements, showing support or condemning the intimidation campaigns.
The SPJ, CPJ, and the Asian American Journalists Association did not respond to a request for comment.
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