The judge is in charge of the Kyle RittenhouseA joke was made Thursday in Kenosha (Wisconsin) during a murder trial. It was criticized by critics as being racially charged, inappropriate, and at the expense Asians.
“I hope the Asian food isn’t coming … isn’t on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor,” Judge Bruce Schroeder said as the court was preparing to adjourn for lunch, evidently referring to the supply-chain backlog at the California port.
The clip was seen nearly 2,000,000 times Thursday night.
John C. Yang (executive director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice), a group advocating for civil rights and human freedoms of Asian Americans, stated that the remark was only meant to be a joke about Asians and Asian Americans.
“Maybe I’m supposed to applaud him for not saying ‘Oriental food,’” Yang tweeted. “During a trial that clearly has race implications, no less. Definitely not okay.”
Others said the comment’s effect was to suggest that food from Asian cultures comes in by boat. Los Angeles and Long Beach are unable to handle large amounts of imported goods from Asia.
Eric Feigl–Ding is a well-known public health scientist who was also an immigrant from Asia. He said that the comments were racist and unneeded. “He could have just said the lunch was late,” he tweeted.
Schroeder has been in the spotlight after Wednesday’s dramatic proceedings, during which he angrily admonished the prosecution and at one point had to silence his cellphone after it played his ringtone, “God Bless the U.S.A.,” a song popular in conservative political circles that has been used as an entrance tune at Donald Trump rallies.
He also made headlines ahead of the trial when he enforced his longstanding rule that prosecutors could not refer to people as “victims” before the jury. They would, however, be permitted to call the people Rittenhouse shot “looters” or “arsonists,” he ruled.
Rittenhouse is 18 years old and faces murder charges for the deaths of two Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Kenosha. Rittenhouse was just 17 years old at the time. He claims he was acting in self defense when he shot two people. A third victim was also injured.