Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP
Ali Wong has given the public loads of very personal information about her husband, Justin Hakuta, in the eight years the couple has been married.
In her most recent Netflix stand-up special, Don Wong, the Asian American actor bragged about her Asian American husband’s accolades: He went to Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard Business School, and he was a Fulbright scholar.
She also referred to his Keanu Reeves-like looks, saying, “I like dudes who look as close to Keanu Reeves as possible.”
In 2018’s Hard Knock Wife, Wong talked about the couple’s pre-nup and Hakuta’s income, which apparently pales in comparison with hers. Before that, in Baby Cobra, Wong told the story of how they met, admitting that she thought Hakuta was out of her league, so she came up with a plan “to trap his a**!”
Still, despite the abundance of very Google-able information out there about him and red carpet appearances by the two, on the day Wong confirmed she and her husband plan to split, some news outlets misidentified Hakuta, incorrectly using photos of Asian American actor Randall Park instead.
Wong and Park co-starred in exactly one film together: the Netflix hit Always Be My Maybe.
The blunder has revived the hashtag #wrongasian on social media and spurred new rounds of ridicule of the outlets, including Parade magazine, which has since deleted a tweet featuring Wong and Park.
“Come on! Can we not ruin the news of Ali Wong’s divorce with Wrong Asian racism?” tweeted Phil Yu, co-author of Rise: A Pop History of Asian America From the Nineties to Now.
Others joined in expressing feelings of exhaustion over having to call out such careless oversights, which are much more common in stories about people of color.
“In their defense, Justin [Hakuta] and Randall Park were both Asian on the same night this one time,” wrote Esther Choo, an Asian American physician and health communicator, in a tweet that paired a red carpet photo of Wong and Hakuta alongside a red carpet photo of Wong and Park taken on the same night.
Meanwhile, MSN seems to have made a similar mistake, but somehow worse, by leaving Wong completely out of the picture and posting only a photo of Park below a tweet that read: “Ali Wong and husband Justin Hakuta divorcing after 8 years of marriage, reports say.”
Just last month, world-famous tennis star Serena Williams was at the center of a similar error by The New York Times. The newspaper ran a story about Williams’ venture firm raising $111 million but used a photo of her sister Venus Williams by mistake.
No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it’s not enough. This is why I raised $111M for @serenaventures. To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked. You can do better, @nytimes. pic.twitter.com/hvfCl5WUoz
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) March 2, 2022
“No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it’s not enough,” Serena Williams responded on Twitter. “This is why I raised $111M for @serenaventures. To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked. You can do better, @nytimes.”
Parade magazine has since issued an apology to Wong, Hakuta and Park and has promised to “implement stronger measures going forward.”
It added: “We made a mistake and identified Ali Wong’s husband Justin Hakuta as her co-star Randall Park. We understand how hurtful this photo mistake was and the impact it can have and we sincerely regret it.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism