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Star of controversial Hoekstra ad apologizes

at 07:33 PM ET, 02/15/2012

A woman claiming to be the star of a controversial Super Bowl ad run by former congressman Pete Hoekstra’s (R-Mich.) Senate campaign has apologized for playing a role that some have said preys on Asian stereotypes.

“I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities,” the actress, Lisa Chan, wrote on her Facebook page. “As a recent college grad who has spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice, this role is not in any way representative of who I am. It was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that, over time, I hope can be forgiven. I feel horrible about my participation and I am determined to resolve my actions.”

In the Hoekstra ad, the actress played a young Chinese woman who thanked Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) in broken English for sending American jobs overseas to her country.

To some, though, the character she played was too much of a caricature, and Hoekstra’s campaign has weathered some bad press because of it.

After the ad ran, Hoekstra’s campaign took down a Web site playing on the themes broached in the ad. But the ad remains on YouTube and has been viewed more than one million times.

Chan was identified on a blog a few days after the ad aired as a former beauty pageant winner and advocate for troubled youth. She has also been profiled by the San Francisco Chronicle.

In her Facebook post, Chan identifies herself as CEO and president of The Strive — a youth organization — and vice president of Sparxo Inc.

 
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