Advocacy groups demand resignation of Malden city councilor who wore a costume mocking Asian women

“We don’t want to give the impression that… we are looking for every mistake or every misstep someone makes,” Zane Crute, president of the NAACP branch, said in a telephone interview with The Globe. “It’s more of a lack of accountability. She refuses to say, “Hey I was wrong I screwed up some people don’t like this and I want to do better.” We have the impression that she failed to do so.

The photo – which appears to show Sica dressed as an employee of Orchids of Asia, the Florida spa that became the center of a 2019 prostitution case involving Patriots owner Robert Kraft – drew backlash ago two years when it was reportedly posted on her Facebook page. He recently resurfaced, circulating in Facebook groups, leading some local organizations, including the NAACP, to ask him to apologize, Crute said.

“Reviewing the costume choice through a more enlightened lens now allows me to see what I didn’t see then, namely that costumes that in any way portray another culture can be hurtful and in my case send a message incompatible with how I lived my public and private life, ”Sica wrote in her statement to Facebook on November 17. “I can and will do better.

Councilor Sica, left, is the subject of criticism for this photo taken at a Halloween party in 2019.Handout

In the photo, Sica wears an Asian conical hat and Orchids of Asia shirt while holding a bottle of lotion. A man identified as her husband is apparently dressed in Kraft.

The costume was an apparent reference to the prostitution sting in Orchids in January 2019 that led Kraft and 24 other men to be charged with prostitution offenses for allegedly paying spa workers for sex. The charges against Kraft were dropped in September 2020.

Groups including the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition, the Vietnamese-American Development Initiative and the Asian Community Development Corporation, said Sica’s statement contained no apologies and caused further harm to the community. Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the city.

“In her statement, which only came after a coalition of community organizations asked Councilor Sica to apologize, Councilor Sica did not apologize; she excused her behavior, explaining, “I have love in my heart for people of all walks of life, races and religions,” the NAACP statement read.

Malden, a city of just over 60,000 residents, has a large Asian community which accounted for 22.5% of its total population in 2019, according to census data.

Sica has not returned a request for comment and has yet to publicly acknowledge the calls for her resignation.

In their initial statement asking Sica to apologize, advocacy groups said his costume mocked the challenges faced by Asian Orchids workers, some of whom suffered more severe legal consequences than Kraft and the other men. who would have solicited prostitution. They also said the photo hypersexualized Asian women.

Sica admitted in her statement two weeks ago that she and her husband “shed light” on the prostitution case involving Kraft, but said she has since learned that “the women involved in cases like all too often they are vulnerable members of the Asian community who are victims of exploitation.

One of the groups now calling for his resignation, the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition, said in a statement that some of its group had received “violent” comments mixed with racist language. people who defend Sica.

“His supporters have sent us messages in recent weeks with openly racist and deeply offensive statements,” said Andrea So, chairman of the group’s board of directors. “Words that are very, very offensive and poke fun at the AAPI culture.”

Crute and So both said Sica had not contacted them or their groups about the controversy.

As the costume controversy surfaced two weeks ago, several members of Malden City Council and the city’s State House delegation asked Sica to apologize.

Some of the members, including Sica, tabled a resolution on Thursday for discussion at their meeting next week that would recognize “the damaging impact racism has on our residents and our community” and create a new racial equity commission that would examine the consequences of racism. on public health.

Andrew Brinker can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @andrewnbrinker.

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