Olympian Suni Lee Reveals She Was Pepper Sprayed & Called Racist Slurs In Anti-Asian Attack

Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee opened up about a racist attack she recently experienced during a night out in Los Angeles.

In a profile with PopSugar published on Thursday, the 18-year-old Dancing with the Stars contestant recalled the violent incident, which happened a week before the interview. Saying she was waiting for an Uber at the end of the night with her friends when a group of people in a car suddenly approached them and started yelling racist slurs. They then told the women to “go back to where they came from.” Suni, who is Hmong American, said someone even sprayed her arm with pepper spray before speeding off:

“I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off. I didn’t do anything to them, and having the reputation, it’s so hard because I didn’t want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen.”

The US has a long history of anti-Asian racism, and attacks against the community have only increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Between March 19, 2020, and June 30, 2021, the Stop AAPI Hate organization reported that there have been 9,081 racist incidents against AAPI people in the US.

Recently, Us Weekly reports the gymnast told fans that she was struggling with her mental health after running out of the DWTS ballroom during Queen night last week. She said during an Instagram Q&A on November 4:

“Could def be better. But it’s just a lot on my plate all at one time & a lot of things ppl don’t know about.”

After that horrific incident, we can only imagine how she must have felt…

But following her post about the topic, Suni told PopSugar that she’s received a ton of support from people and has realized how important it is to keep speaking out about her mental health — especially after difficult moments:

“When I shared that I was feeling down, so many people reached out and either sent positive messages of encouragement or told me they were feeling similarly and not to feel alone. It’s OK to feel down sometimes, but what I’ve realized is that it’s important to express your feelings and ask for help. In the past, I might have pushed on and not acknowledged the state of my mental health. But there’s so much power in owning your feelings. It’s not weakness, it’s actually taking control.”

This hate needs to be stopped.

You can read her entire interview with PopSugar HERE.

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