An Asian woman who experienced an anti-Asian hate incident at a Halsey concert in Irvine, California, has shared her story.

Catt Phan, 26, and her friend were at a Halsey concert at the FivePoint Amphitheatre when she says another group of concertgoers allegedly dumped a drink on them and spewed anti-Asian comments on July 9.

Phan, a Vietnamese American, claims the group of four people were belligerently drunk as they bumped into them. A man dumped his drink on Phan’s friend, and when Phan confronted him, he tried to place his fingers on her mouth to stop her from talking as he laughed, according to Phan.

“F*ck those Asian bitches. Don’t let them ruin our night. They don’t belong here anyways,” a woman from the group allegedly told the man.

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“She not only said it once, but twice. Unsettled, I tried to get my belongings together to leave immediately once the encore finished,” Phan tells NextShark. “I was shining my phone flashlight trying to find my fallen jacket when I saw the woman pour alcohol on it, completely drenching my personal belongings. The drunkest guy laughed at how mad I was, and all the woman had to say was ‘Good.’”

Phan, a senior communications and training manager at Cause Communications in Los Angeles, shared the incident on social media, including her personal Instagram, on Monday. She says she was disappointed that bystanders and security guards at the concert did nothing to help her and her friend amid the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes across the nation.

“I share this story to raise awareness and manifest a culture shift. I share my story to reclaim my autonomy. To reestablish my power. To separate what brings me pain and what I love,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “When you speak up, people do listen. I reported the hate incident to the City, Live Nation, and Stop AAPI Hate and in less than a week I have gotten assurances from city officials, security officers and senior leaders that concert staff will be better trained. I hope more action follows.”

Story continues

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“When I tell people what happened, what I hear is, ‘you should be so lucky to be alive,’ like we have to be dead and shot at and brutalized in order to feel justified about our pain,” Phan says in her Instagram video. “I don’t think so. I’ve been told I don’t belong here since the moment I got to this country and I am done being quiet. I am speaking out, and I really hope you’re listening.”

Vice Mayor of Irvine Tammy Kim supported Phan and helped amplify her story to Live Nation, the company that managed Halsey’s concert in Irvine. Phan asked the events company to look into banning the group from attending future concerts.

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Although two representatives from the company personally apologized to Phan, she specifically hopes for Live Nation and the FivePoint Amphitheatre staff to go through bystander intervention and cultural competency training as well as anti-racist educational workshops to better recognize and handle belligerent guests and hate incidents.

She also recommended emailing Bystander Intervention methods to concertgoers and providing on-screen and in-person announcements from Live Nation and FivePoint Amphitheatre before the start of events to condemn disorderly conduct, verbal harassment and any forms of hate.

Phan says she is reaching out to Orange County Human Relations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to implementing proactive human relations programs, to develop a community-centered strategy in eliminating bias-motivated hate.

“Hate is a systemic issue and it will not be fixed with more policing or fighting back with violence,” Phan tells NextShark. “I want folks to remember that reporting is important. We are not merely statistics, but by reporting hate crimes and incidents we can make our collective voice louder.”

“Halsey is still my favorite artist because her music makes me feel empowered,” she adds. “Everyone deserves to feel safe, loved, and powerful. Our culture needs to change and that starts by speaking up against microaggressions and casual racism in our daily lives.”


Featured Image via Catt Phan

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