CULTURE

Worst Quotes of the Week: Featuring Steve King, Liu Yifei, and Donald Trump

The definitive ranking of the top three dumbest, silliest, and lamest things said by public figures over the past week.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Welcome to Popdust's worst quotes of the week: our definitive ranking of the top three dumbest, s**ttiest, and just generally lame things said by public figures over the past seven days.

3. Donald Trump

donald trump golf

"That guy's got a serious weight problem. Go home. Start exercising."

In what might go down in history as the most ironic insult ever made, Donald Trump, a man sporting the exact body proportions of a kumquat and some very bizarre ideas about exercise, made fun of another man for being fat. Wanna know the best part? That other man was one of his supporters. Or maybe the best part is that it's on video:

Basically, Trump mistook one of his supporters for a protester and doled out one of his famous Trumpian insults honing in on the lowest-hanging fruit possible. All's well that ends well though, because being insulted by Donald Trump was apparently a dream come true for Frank Dawson, the out-of-shape man who Trump targeted.

"I think he thought I was part of it, but I wasn't. I was the good part of it," Dawson told Fox News during a barely literate interview. "Everything is good. I love the guy. He is the best thing that ever happened to this country."

It's amazing to watch Trump straight-up savage this man's physical appearance, only for the man to turn around and heap praise upon him. If you ever wondered if the Right's obsession with the term "cuck" was projection, look no further than Frank Dawson.

2. Liu Yifei

liu yifei Getty Images

"I support the Hong Kong police; you can beat me up now. What a shame for Hong Kong." Hashtag: "I Also Support The Hong Kong Police," alongside a heart and bicep flex emoji.

liu yifei weibo

At first glance, Liu Yifei (who stars as Mulan in the upcoming live-action Disney remake) just seems to be sharing some average, run-of-the-mill, pro-Chinese communist propaganda in favor of police brutality against protesters in Hong Kong. But upon closer inspection, this one's a deep, dark rabbit hole that potentially reveals an effort by the Chinese government to force celebrities into publicly promoting party policies.

Unfortunately for Disney, Mulan might be a hard sell in the West if people think that the actress attempting to subvert expectations of women onscreen is drawing from her real life experience of subverting expectations by supporting literal human-rights abuses. Then again, it's hard to fault her too much, considering the Chinese government's history of targeting the families of expats who don't comply with their political wishes.

Luckily, Mulan is sure to make back its losses with the full support of The People's Republic of China, who will probably suggest that everyone needs to buy a ticket opening night, lest they be forced to publicly "embarrass" themselves.

3. Steve King

steve king Pictured: An actual troglodyteJOSHUA LOTT/ GETTY IMAGES

"What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?"

If a necromancer brought the corpse of a serial rapist back to life, but its p-nis had already decomposed so it had to get off solely through talking about rape, that would be Republican Congressman Steve King. The man is a literal ghoul, and he's also very, very racist.

Steve King believes abortion is so bad that he excuses raping people. Steve King thinks human life is so precious that he condones people raping their siblings. Steve King adheres to Catholicism so strongly that he's willing to stand up in front of an entire club of fellow conservative folks and tell them how rape and incest have made the human race what it is today, and that if we got rid of it, he might not exist .

In short, Steve King is a wonderful representative of the 4th Congressional District of Iowa.

Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

FILM

Still #BoycottMulan? Liu Yifei Might Be a Victim of Forced Propaganda by the Chinese Government

China might be forcing stars like Mulan's Liu Yifei to spread anti-protester propaganda.

Mulan's official trailer dropped. Meanwhile, pro-democracy protesters persist in their fight for freedom in the face of violence from Hong Kong police.

Remember the controversy surrounding actress Liu Yifei (a.k.a. Crystal Liu), star of Disney's upcoming live-action Mulan, when she posted anti-protester sentiment on social media? While anger at the star's anti-democracy stance might seem natural, it's very possible that Liu is also a victim of the Chinese government.

liu yifei weibo

In August, Liu shared an image on Weibo (China's Twitter-like platform––Twitter is blocked in China) that translates to "I support Hong Kong's police, you can beat me up now." These are words of Fu Guohao, a mainland Chinese journalist who was roughed up by protestors after being caught taking close-up pictures of them at the Hong Kong airport and refusing to show his press credentials (the details here are scant as much of the information available is Chinese propaganda). Upon returning to China, he has been deemed a hero, and his words have become a rallying cry against pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters.

Liu's post, which was originally printed in China's state-backed People's Daily, concluded: "What a shame for Hong Kong." Liu added the hashtag "IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice" alongside a heart emoji and a bicep flex.

The backlash against Liu was immediate, with #BoycottMulan trending in both Hong Kong and the US on Twitter. She's been globally criticized for supporting a police force that is currently being accused of human rights violations against protesters by the UN.

"Disney's Mulan actress, Liu Yifei, supports police brutality and oppression in Hong Kong. Liu is a naturalized American citizen. it must be nice. meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy," wrote Twitter user Sean Norton.

But while Liu's post certainly is not a good look for a Western movie star, disturbing evidence suggests that her sentiments might not be entirely her own.

In fact, around the same time, a ton of other Chinese celebrities shared roughly the same sentiment, with startling uniformity: the same "What a shame for Hong Kong" picture (or, alternatively, the Chinese Five-starred Red Flag), the same "IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice" hashtag, and very little else.

chinese celebrity propaganda pds.joins.com

Some internationally known Chinese celebrities, like singer Lay Zhang, posted the same thing on Twitter:

What's stranger is that none of these celebrities seem particularly well-known for their political activism.

Then, in another instance, many other accounts shared the same exact message as China Central Television: "Hong Kong is part of China forever," followed by the Chinese Flag emoji.

Isn't it strange to see so many influential Chinese social media accounts essentially copying and pasting the same messages in coordination? Moreover, the comment sections for all of these posts (including Lay Zhang's tweet) are full of people supporting mainland China and the Hong Kong police against pro-democracy protesters. This anti-democracy sentiment seems especially weird on Twitter, considering, again, most of the Chinese people who hold these sentiments wouldn't typically have access to the platform.

This isn't to say that Liu Yifei doesn't actually support the Hong Kong police, nor mainland China's claim to ownership of Hong Kong. She very well might. But the possibility also exists that the Chinese government is forcibly using influential Chinese celebrities as mouthpieces for political purposes.

This is not unprecedented in China. There, celebrities' careers are explicitly tied to whether or not they hold favor with the ruling party. This was proven when they "disappeared" their most famous and successful actress, Fan Bingbing, over supposed tax evasion charges. Some, however, suspect her disappearance had everything to do with her growing international influence. She quietly returned months later, oddly sharing a pro-China Communist Youth League post in response to a director who supported Taiwan's autonomy.

"China cannot miss out on any inch," shared Fan.

fan bingbing propaganda

Moreover, even a naturalized American citizen like Liu isn't necessarily safe. The Chinese government has a tendency to use family members still living in mainland China to silence and control expats who might prove problematic. Such was the case for Anastasia Lin, a China-born Canadian beauty queen who spoke out about human-rights abuses in China, only for herself and her family to become targets of the Chinese government's wrath.

"My father sent me a text message saying that they have contacted him telling him that if I continue to speak up, my family would be persecuted like in the Cultural Revolution. My father's generation grew up in the middle of the Cultural Revolution, so for him it's the biggest threat you can make. It means you die, you get publicly persecuted," said Lin.

With a government like the Communist Party of China, which has unprecedented control over its people, it's hard to say what celebrity political endorsements are genuine and which are forced propaganda. While it may be a combination of the two, as seems to be the case with Hong Kong-born action-star Jackie Chan, who now goes above and beyond as a pro-China advocate, one can never really know for sure. When "freedom" is removed from the equation and the safety of someone's family hangs in the balance, it's impossible to distinguish which Chinese celebrities are patriots and which are victims.