Olivia Munn applauds Joe Biden's response to the Atlanta spa shootings: 'It was just so powerful'

Korin Miller
·4 min read

Olivia Munn is speaking out against recent anti-Asian violence in the U.S. And, she says in a recent interview, she feels like she's being heard.

Munn, who is a first-generation American of Chinese and Vietnamese descent, joined SiriusXM's Gayle King in the House on Thursday to talk about the shooting deaths of eight people — six of whom were Asian — at Atlanta spas this week.

While Munn expressed outrage at the killings, she said she was heartened to see that President Joe Biden ordered American flags on federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff through sunset on Monday.

“Did you see that Biden had said today that all the flags across the country should go at half-[staff] for the victims in the shooting? And that for us, it was just so powerful, you know?" Munn said in the interview. The Newsroom actress said she's in a text-message group with journalist Lisa Ling, who said that it means "so much to us to have someone at that level" acknowledge the killings.

"[The victims] matter, and ... all of the flags across our country will go at half-[staff] for them," Munn said of the president's decision. "It was an emotional moment for all of us, and we all took a moment and just cried together.”

The nonprofit organization Stop AAPI Hate reports that it received 3,795 complaints of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from across the country between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021. According to the data, 68 percent of those who filed a complaint faced verbal harassment, and 20.5 percent were deliberately avoided because they were of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Just over 11 percent reported that they were physically assaulted due to their ethnicity.

Munn has repeatedly spoken out about anti-Asian violence, particularly since Tuesday's shooting. "We are being targeted; we are living in a country that is attacking us simply for being us," she said on MSNBC on Wednesday. "We need more people to care about us, to amplify this. We need the media to cover it. ... We have been so invisible for so long."

Munn has also criticized the response of law enforcement, including comments made by Cherokee County Sheriff's Office Captain Jay Baker, who said shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long was just having a "really bad day."

"Would killing 8 people while specifically targeting Asian women at 3 different locations be just something he did 'at the end of a bad day' if his skin was a different color and his eyes were a different shape? #StopAsianHate," she wrote on Twitter.

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Munn appeared again on MSNBC on Thursday and said she's particularly concerned by the conversation about the Atlanta shooter being a sex addict. "Using that as some kind of justification for why this has happened has been so troubling," she said. "Conflating sex addiction with Asian American women is the problem itself. That is the fetishization of Asian American women in our country."

Munn has encouraged her Twitter followers to support the Asian American community.

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She's also helped raise awareness about Nancy Toh, an Asian American grandmother who was attacked near New York's Westchester Mall. Toh was allegedly punched in the face and then hit her nose on the sidewalk as she fell.

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