California Official Reports More Threats Following Limbaugh Comments

Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

A California state senator who criticized Rush Limbaugh's mocking of Chinese culture last week has received two more threatening faxes, according to his chief of staff.

Adam Keigwin, chief of staff to Sen. Leland Yee, said the threats came via fax over the weekend, adding to previous threats that are being investigated. He also said that the senator has "received hundreds of calls and e-mails that support the comments [Limbaugh] made."

"There have been two more threats since Friday," Keigwin said late Monday. "One came late Friday and one came over the weekend, our fax machine shows 4 p.m. on Sunday."

On Jan. 19, Limbaugh used Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit as an opportunity to mock Chinese language and culture.

Yee, chair of the California Senate's Select Committee on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs, responded to Limbaugh's broadcast by calling for an apology, saying that Limbaugh's "classless act is an insult to over 3,000 years of cultural history, and is a slap in the face to the millions of Chinese Americans who have struggled in this country and to a people who constitute one-quarter of the world's population."

On his show the following day, Limbaugh dismissed Yee's criticisms, rejecting the idea that he could have "blown up" 3,000 years of Chinese history "in 18 seconds, right here on the EIB network."

Last week, Yee reported receiving numerous racially charged death threats, including one fax addressed to "Fish Head Leeland Yee" that stated in part: "Rush Limbaugh will kick your Ch*nk ass and expose you for the fool you are."

Keigwin said the latest faxes are similar to two faxes his office received last year - one of which included crosshairs - after Yee sought to have information disclosed regarding Sarah Palin's appearance at a California State University campus.

"We have since received two more similar to that," Keigwin said of the latest faxes. "But one of them includes this crosshairs graphic."

California Highway Patrol, which is investigating the incidents, has asked Yee not to release the images. Keigwin said the U.S. Secret Service is also investigating.

Yee launched an online petition drive last week asking advertisers to drop Limbaugh's radio show.

Keigwin said the petition has received 12,000 names.

Keigwin said the continued negative reaction to Yee's criticism surprised him, given that Limbaugh's broadcast was so offensive and clearly prejudicial.

"I always knew he was pretty popular, I didn't realize that people would support his commentary so much," Keigwin said. "To make the sort of comments he has made and that the comments would be supported and reiterated. Fortunately we received a lot of positive comments, but we have received hundreds of calls and e-mails that support the comments he made. That is surprising that they continue to use that sort of commentary, as if that is acceptable in 2011."

Keigwin added, "It emboldens individuals to take it a step further, 'Hey, our hero Rush Limbaugh is saying it, it must be right, it must be true.' Limbaugh did not threaten Sen. Yee's life, but a supporter of his did. They feel emboldened by his commentary."

Yee, contacted late Monday, added:

"We have received threats in the past, but we take things a lot more serious because of the shooting in Arizona." Asked about Limbaugh, he said: "He is extremely hurtful to our country because we are moving into a different era, with globalization. We can't see ourselves as just Americans anymore."

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